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I 之口 m. 严 


PART 1. 











PART 1. 











i f if \ 


' y •"、 
V' I 



Preface 1 

Introduction : 一 

1. The Life of Wang Ch'ung 7 

2. The Works of" Wang Cluing 8 

3. Wang Ch'uiig's Philosophy 13 

4. Table of Contents of the Luii-heng 4;j 

A . Biographical, 

^ 1. Autobiography (Tse-chi). Bk. XXX, Chap. I 64 

2. Replies in Self-Defence (Tui-tso). Bk. XXIX, Chap. II (S3 

B. Metaphysical. 

3. Spontaneity (Tse-jaii). Bk. XVIII, Chap. I 02 

4. The Nature of Things (Wu-shih). Bk. Ill, Chap.V 103 

5. Phenomenal Changes (Pien-t'ung). Bk. XV, Chap. I 109 

6. On Reprimands (Ch'ien-kao). Bk. XIV, Chap. Ill 119 

7. Heaven's Original Gift (Chu-piiig). Bk. Ill, Chap. Ill IHO 

8. What is meant by Destiny? (Ming-yi). Bk. II, Chap. II 136 

9. On Destiny and Fortune (INIing-ln). Bk. I, Chap. Ill 144 

10. On Chance and Luck (Hsiiig-ou). Bk. II, Chap. I 151 

11. Wrong Notions about Happiness (Fu-lisu). Bk. VI, Chap. I 156 

12. Wrong Notions on Unhappiness (Huo-hsii). Bk. VI, Clia]). II 164 

13. Auspicious Portents (Clii-yen). Bk. II, Chap.V 173 

14. On Divination (Pu-sliih). Bk. XXIV, Chap. II 182 

15. Oil Death (Liin-sse). Bk. XX, Chap. lU 191 

16. False Reports about the Dead (Sse-wei). Bk. XXI, Chap. I 202 

,J7. Spook Stories (Chi-yao). Bk. XXII, Chap. I 220 

(18. All about Ghosts (Ting-kuei). Bk. XXU, Cliap. II 239 

C. Physical. 

19. On Heaven (T an-tMen). Bk. XI, Chap. I 250 

20. On the Sun (Shuo-jih). Bk. XI, Chap. II 258 

21. On Heat and Cold " (Han-wen). Bk. XIV, Chap. II 278 

22. On Thunder and Lightning (Lei-hsii). Bk. VI, Chap. IV 285 

23. On Poison (Yen-tu). Bk. XXIII, Chap. I 298 

24. On Anthroposcopy (Ku-hsiang). Bk. EI, Chap. II 304 

25. Long Life and Vital Fluid (Chi-shoii). Bk. I, Chap. IV 313 


26. Miracles (Chi-kuai). Bk. UI, Cliap.VI 

27. Unfounded Assertions (Wu-hsing). Bk. II, Chaj). Ill 

2S, Taoist Untruths (Tao-hsu). Bk.VII, Chap. I 

29. On Dragons (Lung-hsu). Bk. VI, Chap. Ill 

30. Arguments on Ominous Creatures (Chiaiig-jui). Bk. XVI, Chap. IV 

D, Ethical. 

31. The Forming of Characters (Shuai-hsing). Bk. 11, Oliap. IV . . 

32. On Original Nature (Pen-hsing). Bk. III, Chap. IV 

E. Criiiqne (plvlo-^opliica!, literary and historical). 

33. Criticisms on Confucius (Won K'ung). Bk. IX, Chap. I 

34. Censures on Mencius (Ts'e Meng). Bk. X, Chap. II 

35. Strirtures on Han Fei Tse (Fei Han). Bk. X, Chap, I 

3(5. Statements Corrected (Chong-shuo). Bk. XXVIII, Chap. I . . . . 

37. Critical Remarks on Various Books (Aii-slm). Bk. XXIX, Cli;i!>. I . 

38. The Equality of the Ages (CiM-sliih). Bk. XVIII, Chap. Ill . . . 
3!\ Exaggerations (Yii-tseng). Bk.VII, Chap. II 

40. Exaggerations of tlie Literati (Ju-tscnji;). Bk.YIII, Chap. I . . . 

Y. Folklore and religion, 

41. Saci-ilices to the Departed (Sse-yi). Bk. XXV, Chap. Ill . . . . 

42. Sacrifices (Chi-yi). Bk. XXV, Chap. IV 

43. Criticisms on Noxious Influences (Pien-sui). Bk. XXIV, Chap. Ill . 

44. On Exorcism (Chieh-ch u). Bk. XXV, Chap. II 

Index of Subjects 

Index of Proper Nniiios 

Chinese Works Quoted 

Errata and Addenda 

^8521 9 4 4 

^12 3 5 5 7 8 

r 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 

283 1/1-11-4 

9 13 4 6 7 8 9 


12 3 3 5 7 7 


On the two principal philosophical Chinese systems, Confucianism 
and Taoism we are tolerably well informed by translations of the 
leading works and by systematical treatises. These two branches 
may be regarded as the most important, but it would be impossible 
to write a history of Chinese philosophy without paying special 
attention to the various heterodox philosophers, whose views do 
not agree witli the current ideas of either Confucianists or Taoists. 
For that very reason they are often more interesting than the latter, 
being original thinkers, who disdain to resign themselves to merely 
iterating old stereotyped formula. Many of their tenets remind us 
of similar arguments propounded by various philosophical schools of 
the West. I have called attention to the Epicurean Yang Chu and to 
the Chinese Soplrists (vid. Journ. of Peking Orient. Soc, vol. Ill, p. 203 
and Journ. of China Branch of Royal Asiat. Soc, vol. XXXIV, p. 1) 
and now beg to place before the public a translation of the philo- 
sophical essays of Wmig C/i ung, whom we may well call a Materialist. 
As a first instalment I published, some years ago, a paper treating 
of Wang Ch'ung's ideas on Death and Immortality (Journ. of China 
Branch of Royal Asiat. Soc, vol. XXXI, p. 40). My lecture on the 
Metaphysics of Wang Cli ung, held in 1899 before the East Asiatic 
Section of the Congress of Orientalists at Rome, lias not been printed, 
the manuscript having been lost by the secretaries of the Section. 

Although lie has much in common with the Confucianists 
and still more with the Taoists, Wang Cli ungs philosophy does not 
lack originality. He is an Eclectic, and takes his materials from 
wherever it suits liim, but he has worked it into an elaborate 
system such as did not exist before Chu Hsi. Like a true philo- 
sopher he has reduced tlie multiplicity of things to some few 
fundamental principles, by whicli he explains every phenomenon. 
One or two leading ideas pervade his philosophy as '-'Le'ttmotives.'" 

Lun-Heug. 1 



The Lun-h^ng is not a systematic digest of Wang Ch ung's pliilo- 
sophy. Chinese philosophers like the Greeks before Aristotle liave 
not vet learned the art of connecting their thoughts so as to form 
a complete system, in which each chapter is the logical sequence 
of the preceding- one. But Wang Cli ung has already made one step 
in this direction. Whereas the Analects and tlie works of Menclus, 
Lieh Tse and CImang Tse are hardly anything else tlian collections 
of detached aphorisms, each chapter embracing the most hetero- 
geneous subjects, each chapter of tlie TAin-heng is a real essay, the 
theme of which is given first and adhered to throughout. But 
there is not inucli connection between tlie separate essays. 

These essays are not all of equal value. Some may perhaps 
interest a Chinese, but are not calculated to enlist our interest. For 
this reason I have not translated the whole work, but made a 
selection. It comprises the philosophical essays, and of the others 
tlie most characteristic, enablino- tlie reader to form an adequate 
idea of the author and Lis peculiarities. My chief aim has been 
to set forth Wang Cli ung's philosophy. The introduction contains 
a sketch of liis system, wliich I have attempted to abstract from 
his writings. • 

Of the 84 essays of the Lun-heng I have translated 44. I have 
taken the liberty of arranging- tliem more systematically than is 
done in tlie original, classing them under several heads as meta- 
physical, physical, critical, religious, and folklore. The division 
is not a strict one, because with many chapters it is doubtful, to 
which class tliey belong. Especially between metaphysics and 
physics it is difficult to draw a distinction, since purely physical 
questions are ol'ten treated metaphysically. From a table ol" cou- 
t(Mits of the Lnn-h('ng in its entirety the reader will learn tlie subject 
of those essays, wliicli have not been translated, and by its help 
can easily find tlie place, whicli each chapter takes in the 

Willi the cxccplioii of the Antobiooraphy and the two rliapters 
"M ^ '(Hi/i/rliis Menclus translated by lluichlnsoii (China Hoview, 

\(>I.V1I ; 1 11(1 \' 1 1 1 ) I lie cssnys of Wnng Cliung have not been put 
into any Kiiropcaii langufiiic before. A commentary to the 
ljun-luhig (loos not exist. 1 lio|)0 tliat my translation may prove 
triistwortliy. For atiy misuii(l('rstan(liiiu,'s, which in Chinese and 
pliilosopliical works particularly arc unavoidable, I count upon the 
imlulgrmv of my critics. 

As tar as lay in my p'nvi'r, I have eiulcjiYOured to trace the 
sources f: oni wliicli Wang Cli uikj has quoted, wliicli has not been 


an easy task, and I have added sucli explanatory notes as to enable 
even persons not knowing Chinese to understand the text. For the 
many proper names the index at the end of the volume will be 
oi" advantage. 

To ray thinking, Wang Chung is one of the most ingenious 
Chinese writers, a satirist like Lucian and an esprit fort like Voltaire, 
whose Lun-lieng well deserves the widest publicity. 



Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

1. The Life of Wang Chung. 

The principal data of Wang CKungs life are furnished by 】i】's 
autobiography and by the biographical notice in chapter 79 p. 1 of the 
liou Han-sIn" the History of the Later ITan Dynasty, which was 
written by Fan Y('h in the 5tli cent. a.d. and commented on by Prince 
Chang Iltiai Hsien of the T'ang dynasty. There we read : 

" Wang C/i'ung, whose style was Chung Jen, was a native of 
S/iang-yi'i in K uei-chi. His forefathers liad immigrated from Ytian- 
ch eng in the Wei circuit. As a boy he lost his father and 、、'as 
commended in 】iis village for his filial piety. Subsequently he 
repaired to the capital, wliore lie studied at the academy. 

The book of Yunn Shan Sung says that Wanp ( 'h'vng was a very precocious 
youth. After having entered the academy, he composed an essay on six scholars 
oil the occasion of the emperor visiting the Imperial College. 

ITis teacher 、、- as Pan Piao from Fu-feng. He was very fond 
of extensive readiiio-, but did not trouble much about paragraphs 
or sentences. His fjunily being poor, be possessed no books. 
There lore he used to stroll abdiit" llu' market-place and the shops 
ill Loi/diifi and rend the books exposed there for sale. That wliicli 
lie had oiico read, he was able to roinoniber and to repeat. Thus 
111' liad :»(''(|iiiml a vast knowledge oi' the tenets of the various 
HcJiools and systems. Having returned to his native place, lie 
led a v(M-y solitary life as :i teaclicr. Tlicn he took office \n the 
prefect u re and \vns appointed secret ;iry, but in consequence of 
rr('(|ii('nt nMnoiistraiiccs 、vif'li liis superiors, disputes , and dis- 
Hcnsioiis with his r<>ll(>agm,s, lie line I (o (juil tlie service. 

\S'ii)i(j ( 7 I nii(/ 1ki(I ;) stroMij,' pevchanl for dis (; ussions. At the 
('iit、''f. Ills :ir<;iun('iits would oTten appear ratlier queer, but liis 

The Life of Wang Cheung. 


final conclusions were true aud reasonable. Being convinced t hat 
the ordinary savants stuck too niucli to the letter, and thus 
would mostly lose the true meaning, he shut himself up lor 
meditation, and no longer observed the ceremonies of congratu- 
lation or condolence. Every av here near the door, the windows, 
and on the walls he had liis knives and pens placed, 、vitli Avhich 
lie wrote the Lun-heng in 85 chapters containing over 200,000 words. 

Yuan Shan Sung says in his book that at first the Lun-luhiy written by 
Wang Ch'ung was not current in the central provinces. When T^sai Yung came 
to Ww, he discovered it there, and used to read it secretly as a help to con- 
versation. Afterwards Wang Lang became prefect of ICuei-chi^ and likewise got 
into possession of the book. On his return to Hsu-ltsia his contemporaries were 
struck with the great iniproveinent of his abilities. Some one remarked that, 
unless he had met with some extraordinary person, he must have found some 
extraordinary book. They made investigations, and found out that in fact it was 
from the Lun-heng that he had derived this advantage. Thereupon the Lim-hnig 
came into vogue, Pao P u Tse relates that his contemporaries grudged T sai Yung 
the possession of a rare book. Somebody searched for it in the hiding place 
behind his curtains, and there in fact found the Lun-hcng. He folded some 
chapters together in order to take them away, when T'mi Yung proposed to him 
that tiiey should both keep the book, but not divulge its contents. 

He explained the similarities and the diversities of the 
different classes of things, and settled the common doubts and 
errors of the time. 

The governor Tang Cli in- made him assistant-magistrate. 
Later on lie rose to the rank of a sub-prelect. Then he retired 
and returned home. A frieiul and fellow-country man of his Hsieh 
1 Wti addressed a memorial to the throne, in wliicli lie recom- 
mended Wang Ch ung for his talents and learning. 

Ill the book of Hsieh Ch'eng it is stated that in recommending Wang Ch'unff, 
llsieh I \Vu said that his genius was a natural gift and not acquired by learning. 
Even Mencius and Sun Chiny in former times, or l uny Hsiung, Liu Hsiang, or 
Sse Ilia (Jh/ien more recently in the 1 1 an epoch could not surpass him, 

Su Taung commanded a cliainberlaiu to summon Wang Cli ung 
into his presence, but owing to sickness, lie could not go. When 
lie was nearly seventy years of age, bis powers began to decline. 
Then he wrote a book on "Macrobiotics" in 16 chapters, and 
refraiuiug from all desires and propensities, and avoiding all 
emotions , he kept himself alive, until in the middle of the 
Yung-yuan period, when lie died of an illness at his home." 


Lun - Heng : Introduction^ 

By his own testimony Waiiff Cliting was born in the third 
year of the Chien-icu cycle, i. e. in a.d. 27, in 8hang-yu-hsien, the 
present Shao-hsiiig-fu of the province of Chekiang. His family lia<l 
originally been residing in Yuan-cli eng 二 Ta-ming-fu in Child; . His 
father's name was Wang Sung. Owing to tlieir violent temper his 
ancestors bad several times been implicated in local feuds, which 
are still iioav of frequent occurrence in Fukien and Cliekiang, and were 
compelled to change tlieir domicile. Wang Cli ung's critics are scanda- 
lized at his coolly telling us that his great-grandfatlier behaved like 
a ruffian during a la mine, killing and wounding his fellow-people. 

If Wa7ig Cliung's own description be true, he must have been 
a paragon in his youth. He never needed any correction neither 
at the hauds of his parents nor of his teachers. For his age he 
was exceptionally sedate and serious. When lie was six years old, 
he received his lii'st instruction, and at the age of 8 he was sent 
to a public school. There the teacher explained to liim the Ana- 
lects and the Shuking, and he read 1,000 characters every day. 
Wheu he had mastered the Classics, one was astonished at the 
progress he made, so lie naively in forms us. Of his other attaiii- 
iiients lie speaks in tlie same strain and with the same conceit. 
The Hon llan-sliu confirms that he was a good son. 

Having lost his lather very early, lie entered the Imperial 
Co liege at Loyatig, then the capital of China. His principal teaclier 
was the historian Pan Pino, the fatlier of P<iu A'", autlior of the 
History of the Former I-Iau dynasty. In Loyang lie laid the founda- 
tion of the vast amount of knowledge by which lie distinguished 
liiinself later on, and became a'cqua'intwl with the theories of the 
various school's of thought, many of which lie vigorously attacks 
ill liis writings. II is aim was to grasp tiie general gist ol' what 
lie read, and lie (lid not care so mucli for minor details. The 
iiiajority ol" the scholars of his time conversely would cliug to the 
words and sentences and over these iniautiai quite forget the 
whole. liiMug too poor to buy all the books required to satiate 
liis limigi'r lor knowledge, he would sauiitei- about in the market- 
pla (; (! and hook-slio])^, and peruse tlie books exposed there for 
Hale, liaviiig |m 山 ably nuulc. some sort of agreement with the book- 
sellers, wlio I nay lia\'c taken an interest in tlie ardent student. 
Ilia excellent memory was of great service to him, for he could 
remcmbiT, even repeat wliat 】i(i had once read. At the same time 
liis (u-iticiil genius developed, lie liked to argue a point, and 
• I'ougli liis views ol'tcii sc (; nicd jjaradoxical, Jiis op])oneuts could 
'I'll bill .'idiiiil t lie just iicsis of liis ai'giniKMits. 

Tlie Life of Wang Ch'ung. 


Having completed his studies, Wang C/i mtg returned to his 
native place, where he became a teacher and lived a very quiet 
life. Subsequently he took office and secured a small position as a 
secretary of a district, a post which 】ie also filled under a military 
governor and a prefect. At last lie was promoted to be assistant- 
magistrate of a department. He would have us believe that lie 
was a very good official, and that his relations to his colleagues 
M ere excellent. The Hou Ilan-sJui, on tlie other hand, tells us that 
lie remonstrated so much with his superiors and was so quarrel- 
some, that he had to leave the service. This version seems tlie 
more probable of the two. Wang Ch ung was much too independent, 
luiicli too outspoken, and too clever to do the routine business 
well, wliicli requires clerks and secretaries of moderate abilities, or 
to serve under superiors, wliom lie surpassed by his talents. So 
lie devoted himself exclusively to his studies, lie lived in rather 
straitened circumstances, but supported his einbarassments with phi- 
losophical equanimity and cheerfulness. "Although he was poor 
and had not an acre to dwell upon, liis mind was freer than that 
ol" kings and dukes, and though lie had no eaiolumeuts counted 
by pecks and bushels, lie felt, as if he had ten thousand cliung to 
live upon. He enjoyed a tranquil happiness, but liis desires did 
not rim riot, and tliougli lie was living in a state of poverty, his 
energy was not broken. Tlie study of ancient literature was his 
debauchery, and strange stories liis relish." He liad a great ad- 
miration for superior men, and liked to associate with people rising 
above mediocrity. As loug as lie was in office and well oil", he 
had many friends, but most of tliem abandoned liim, when he had 
retired into private life. 

In A.D. 86 Wang CK ung emigrated into the province of Anhd, 
where he was appointed sub-prefect, the highest post which lie 
held, but two years only, for iu 88 lie gave up his official career, 
which liad not been a brilliant one. The reason of his resignation 
this time seems to have been ill health. 

So far Wang Cliung liad not succeeded iu attracting the atten- 
tion of tlie emperor. An essay wliicli he had composed, wlieu 
the emperor had visited tlie college of Loyang , liad passed unno- 
ticed. 丄 11 the year 76, when parts of Honan were sulieriug from 
a great dearth, Wany Ch: ung presented a memorial to the Emperor 
( 'hang Ti in 、vliicli lie proposed measures to prohibit dissipation 
and extravagancies, and to provide for the time of need, but liis 
suggestions were not accepted. He did not fare better with another 
anti-alcoholic memorial, iu wliicli lie advocated the prohibition of 


Lull - Heng : Introduction. 

the use of spirits. When finally the Emperor became aware of 
Wang Ch'tmg, it was too late. A friend and a country man of his, 
H.sieh I Wit recommended him to the tlirone for liis talents and 
great learning, saying that neither Mencms or Ilsi'in Tse nor in the 
Han time Yang Hsiuug, Liu Hsiang or Sse Ma Cli ien could outsliine 
Lim, The Emperor Chang Ti (7()-88 a.d.) summoned him to his 
presence, but owing to his ill-health Wang Cli ung bad to decline 
the honour. His state had impaired so much, that already in 89 
he thought that liis end liad come. But the next two years pass- 
ed, and lie did not die. He found even the time to write a book 
oa " Macrobiotics," which he put into practice himself, observing 
a strict diet aud avoiding all agitations in order to keep his vital 
lluid intact, until he expired in the middle of the Yung-yuan period 
(89-104) about the year 97. The exact year is not known. 

2. The Works of Wang Chung. 

Wang Cliung's last work, the Yang-lising-shu or Macrobiotics iu 
16 cliaptei's, 、、- liicli lie Avrote some years before his death, lias 
been mi'iitioued. His first productions were the Chl-m-chU'h-yi 
" Censures on Common Morals " in 12 chapters and the CMng-wu、 
a book on Goverumeiit, both preceding his principal work, the 
Lun-lieng^ in which they are several times referred to in the two 
biographical chapters. 

Wdiiy Cli liny wrote his " ("ensures " as a protest against tlie 
manners oC his time witli a view to rouse tlie public conscience, 
lie was prompted to write tliis w ork by tlic heart lessiiess ol' his 
former Irieuds, who abandoned liini, when he was poor, and of 
the world in general. To be read and understood by tlie people, 
not the literati only, lie atloptod an easy and po[)ular style. This 
appears to liavc been contrary to custom , lor Jie thought, it neces- 
sary t-o justify liimsc'lC (p. 71). 

1 Ik- work on govcniiuent owes its origin to the vain ellbrts 
ol" t he Imperial (jrovernmciit ol' liis lime to aduiinistcr the Empire. 
The)' (lid iiol sec their way, being ignorant of the lundamental 
principles (p. 70). From the Cliiny-wu. (he territorial officials wei'e 
to i<'arn what tlicy ii ceded most in tli^'ir adiniiiistratioii, and tlie 
j)eople should be induced " to re Conn and gratcriilly acliiiowledge 
III'' l《imlm'-vs of i he governmoiil '" (p. DO). 

The Works oi" Wang Ch ung. 9 

These three works: the Macrobiotics, the Censures on Morals, 
and the work on Government have all been lost, and solely the 
Luii'heng lias come down to us. Whereas the (Jhi-m-chieh-yi censures 
the common morals, the Luu-lieny ― Disquisitions tests and criticises 
tlie common errors and superstitions, the fornuir being more ethical, 
the latter speculative. Many of these errors are derived from the 
current literature, classical as well as popular. Wang Ck ung takes 
up these books and points out where they are wrong. He avoids 
all wild speculations, which lie condemns ' in others, so lie says 
(p, 91). The Lan-heng is not professedly a philosophical work, 
intended to set forth a philosophical system, but in con luting and 
coiitestiug the views of others, Wang Ch ung incidentally develops 
liis own philosophy. In this respect there is a certain resemblance 
with the Theodicee of Leibniz^ wliicli, strictly speaking, is a polemic 
against Bayle. Wang Chungs aim iii writing the Lun~lieng was 
purely practical, as becomes plain from some of his utterances- 
" The nine cliapters of the Lun-lieng on Inventions, and the three 
chapters of the Lun-lieng on Exaggerations, says lie, are intended 
to impress people^ that they must strive for truthfulness/' Even 
such high metaphysical problems as that of immortality lie re- 
gards from a practical point of view. Otherwise he would not 
write, as lie does : ― "工 iiave written the essays on Deatli and on 
the False Reports about Death to show that the deceased liave uo 
consciousness, and cauuot become ghosts, hoping that, as soon as 
my readers have grasped this, they will restrain the extravagance 
of the burials and become economical " (p. 90). 

From a passage (Chap, KXXVIII) to the effect that the reigning 
sovereign was continuing the prosperity of Kuany Wu Ti (25-57a.d,) 
and Ming Ti (58-75) it appears that the Lun-heng was written 
under the reign of the Emperor Chang ti viz. between 76 and 
89 A.D. From another remark that in the Chiang-Jui chapter (XXX) 
the auspicious portents, of the Yuan-ho and Chang-] to epochs (84-SG 
and 87-88) could not be meutioued, because of its being already 
completed, we may infer that tlie whole Avork was finished beioi'e 
84. Thus it must date from the years 76-84 a.d. 

The Lan-heng in its present form consists of 30 books com- 
prising 85 chapters or separate essays. Ch ien Lung' s Catalogue 
[Sse-k U'chuan-sku-tsutig-niu chap. 120 p. 1) shows that we do not possess 
the Lim-heng in its entirety, lu his autobiography Wang Ch uny 
states that his "vvork coataiiis more than a liuudred cliapters 
(p. 78), consequently a number of chapters must have been lost. 
Tlie 85 cliapters mentioned above are enumerated in the index 


Lull - Hcng : Introduction. 

preceding the text, but of tlic 44tli chapter " Chao-chilt " we have 
merely the title, but not the text so, that the number of chapters 
really existing is reduced to 84. The chapters exceeding 85 must 
have already been lost in the first centuries, for we read in the 
Hail Han-shu of the 5tli cent. a.d. that Wany Cliimg wrote tlie Lun- 
heng in 85 chapters. 

Some interesting data about the history of the text are fur- 
nished ill auotlier History of the Later Han Uynasty, the IIou 
llan-iitu of Yuan S/iciu Sung of tlie L'/iln epoch (265-419 a.d.), wlio 
lived auterior to Fan Yeh, the author of the officially recognised 
History ot" tlie Later Han. Yuan Shan Sung's History was in 100 books 
(of. Li ted iiiing hsien lieli nil shih hsing pu chap. 44, p, 85 v.), but it 
lius not been incorporated into the Twenty-four dynastic Histories. 
Yuan Shan Sung, whose work is quoted by several critics, informs 
us that at first the Lun-heng was only current in the southern 
provinces of China where Wang C/i wig had lived. There it was 
discovered by T^sai Yung (133-192 a.d.) a scholar of note from the 
north, but instead of communicating it to others, he kept it for him- 
self, reading it secretly " as a lielp to couversation " i. e. lie plundered 
the Lun-heng to be able to shine in conversation. Another scholar, 
Wang Lang of the 2nd and 3d cent. a.d. is reported to have behaved 
in a similar way, when lie became prefect of iCuei-chi^ where he 
found tlie Lun-heng. His friends suspected him of having come 
into possession of an extraordinary book, whence he took liis wis- 
dom. They searched for it and found the Lun-heng, wliicli sub- 
sequently became universally known. The Taoist writer Ko Hung 
of the 4th cent, a.d., known as Pao P u Tse, recounts that the 
lAin-lieny concealed by T' sfd Yung was discovered in the same way. 
At all events T sai Yung and Wcuty Lang seem to have been instru 
mental in preserving and trausmitting the Lun-lieng. 

Ill llic History of the Sui dynasty (580-618 a.d.), Sui-sliu 
cliuj). 34 j). 7 v., ail edition of the Lun-heng in 29 books is mentioned, 
wliercjifs wc liav (! ',\0 books now. The ('oinnieiitary to this passage 
ohservcs tlinl uml(n' the Lmng dynasty (502-556 a.d.) there 、vas the 
7 '〃/',(/-/'.、-// ill !) books and I book of Remarks w ritten by Yh"j lu'ny, 
but that bot li works arc. lost. They seem to have been treatises 
on the Liiii-lii'm/, of wliicli there are none now left. The Catalogue 
ol' tlu'. Hooks ill ilie History of the 7' (tug dynasty ( C/i ien T'ang-A/m 
|). 1 7 I,. -S) has t lie entry: ― " L.uii-I"h"j 30 books." 

At present I lie Luu-I"''ng forms pai't o f the well known col- 
l(M;lioij oi" worlifs of" 1 lie Ilaii and Wei times, tlie J Ian Wei tswHj-sIm 
tlatiiig IVoiii 1 lie MiiKj (lyuasly. Tlie text of the Luu-hcmj con- 

The Works of Wang Ch ung. 


tained in the large collection oi" pliilosophical works, the Tse sliu 
chin, is only a reprint from the Han Wei tsung-shu. lii his useful 
little biographical index, Shu-mu-lang wen, Chang Chilt Tung records 
a separate edition of tlie Lun-h'ng printed under the Ming dynasty. 
I have not seen it and do not know, whether it is still to be found 
in the hook-sliops, and wlietlier it difl'ers from the current text. 
In the many quotations from the Lun-heng of tlie T ai-p ing Yil Ian 
(9 til cent. A.D.) there is liardly any divergence from the reading of 
our text. A commentary to the Lun-heng has not been witten. 

In the appreciation of his countrymeii Wang Ckimg does 
not rank very high. Cliao Kung Wu (I'itli cent, a.d.) opines that 
tlie Lun-heng falls short of the elegant productions of the Former 
Han epocli. Another critic of the 12tli cent., Kao Sse Sun is still 
more severe in his judgnieut. lie declares tlie Lun-lieng to be a 
medley of heterogeneous masses, written in a bad style, in which 
morality does not take tlie place it ought. After his view the Lun- 
lu'ug would liave no intrinsic value, being nothing more than a 
"help to conversation." Wang Fo Hon "and others condemn tlie 
Lnn-lieng on account of the author's impious utterances regarding 
his ancestors and his attacks upon the Sage Confucius. That he 
criticised Mencius miglit be excused, but to dare to find fault with 
Confucius is an unpardonable crime. That mars the whole work. 

In modern times a change of opinion in favour of Wang Cliung 
seems to have taken place. In liis Prefatory Notice to the Lun- 
heng, Yu Chun Hsi pours down unrestricted praise upon him. "People 
of the Han period, he remarks, were fond of fictions and fallacies. 
Wang CHung pointed out wliatever was wrong: in all his arguments 
lie used a strict and thorough method, and paid special attention 
to meanings. Rejecting erroneous notions lie came near the truth. 
Nor was lie afraid of disagreeing with tlie wortliies of old. Thus 
lie furthered the laws of tlie State, and opened tlie eyes and ears 
of tlie scholars. People reading his books felt a cliill at first, but 
then tliey repudiated all falsehood, and became just and good. 
They 、vere set right, and discarded all crooked doctrines. It is 
as if somebody amidst a clamouring crowd in the market-place 
lifts tlie scale : tlieu the weights and prices of wares are equitably 
determined, and every strife ceases." 

To a certain extent at least the Ch ieu Lung Catalogue does 
him justice, wliile cliaracterising his strictures on Confucius and 
Menciiis and 】iis disirespect towards his Ibrel'atliers as wicked and 
perverse, its critics still admit that in exposing falsehoods and de- 
iioutKMug AvJiat is base and lov. he generally liits the truth, and 


Luii - Hong : Introduction. 

tliat by liis investigations lie lias done much for the furtlierauce of 
culture aud civilization. They couclude by saying that, although 
Wang Cli uny be impugned by many, lie will always have admirers. 

1 presume that most Europeans, uutrainelled by Chinese moral 
prejudices, will ratlier be among his admirers, and fall in with 
Mayers speaking of H ang Cliuny as "a pliilosoplier, perhaps the 
most original and judicious among all the metaphysicians China 
has produced, . . . wlio iu the writings derived from liis pen, 
ibrmiug a work in thirty books, entitled Critical Disquisitions ' Lun- 
heiig, handles mental aud physical" problems iu a style and with a 
boldness uuparallelied iu Chinese literature ' ' [Reader s Manual 
N. 795). 

The tirst translator of the two chapters on Confucius and 
Mencius aud of the autobiography, Uutchinson, says of tlie Luii- 
heng: — "The whole book will repay perusal, treating as it does 
of a wide range ot" subjects, enabling us to form some idea of" the 
state of the Chinese mind at the commencement of the Christian era. 

The subjects (treated) are well calculated to enlist tlie interest 
of the student and would most probably shed much light upon 
the history of Chinese Metaphysics " (Cliiua lleview vol. VI 丄, 

In my opinion Wang Cli ung is one of the greatest Chinese 
thinkers. As a speculative philosopher lie leaves Confucius and 
Almci'us, who are only moralists, far behind. He is much more 
judicious tliau Lao Tse, Cliuang Tse, or AJe Ti. We might perhaps 
place liim on a level with Chu Ihi, the great philosopher of the 
Suiiff time, in point of abilities at least, for their philosophies differ 
very much. 

Iu most Chinese works Wanff Cli ung is placed among the 
Misceilaueous Writers or the Eclectics " Tsa (Jhia;, who do not 
belong to one singly school, Confucianism, Meliism, or Taoism, but 
combine the doctrines of various schools. Wany L'li ung is treated 
as ail Eclectic in the histories of tiie Sii.i dynasty and the T'ang 
tlyiiasty, in CI "en Lungs Catalogue, aud in tlie 7 'se-sh a-po-cli ia . Chang 
Cliili Timy, however, eiiuiuerates liiiii among the C'oiifucianists, and 
so does I'aljer (Doctrines of Confucius p. 31). Although he lias not 
been the louuder of a school, i would rather assign to him a 
place apart, to which his importance a,s a philosopher eu titles him. 
it III utters not that his inllueuce lias been very slight, and that 
tlie CJiinesc know so little oi" liiiii. His work i« hardly read, but 
is extensively quoted in dictionaries and cyclopedias. At any rate 
Wany Clinng is more ol' au Eclectic than a Confuciaiiist. The Chinese 

Wang Ch'ung's Philosophy. 


qualify as " Tsa CMa" all those original writers whom they cannot 
place under any other head. Wang Ch ung seems to regard himself 
as a Confucianist. No other philosopher is more frequently men- 
tioned by liim than Confucius, who, though lie finds fault with him 
here and there, is still, in liis eyes, flie Sage. Waiirj Ch ung is most 
happy, wlien he can prove an assertion by quoting the authority 
of Confucius. This explains how he came to be classed by others 
with the Confucianists. 

3. Wang Ch'img's Philosophy. 

At first sight Wang Cli ung's philosophy might seem dualistic, 
for he recognises two principles, which are to a certain extent 
opposed to each other, the Yang and the Yin fluid. But, although 
the former, which is conceived as forming lieaven as "vvell as the 
human mind, be more subtle than the latter, from wliicli the earth 
lias been created, yet it is by no means immaterial. Botli these 
principles liave been evolved from Chaos, when the original fluid 
became differentiated and split into two substances, a finer" one, 
Yang, and a coarser one, Yin-. We do not find a purely spiritual 
or transcendent correlate to these two substances such e. g. as Tao, 
the all-embracing- mystical force of the Taoists, or Li "Reason," 
wliidi in Ch" Thi's system rules over Matter "rh'i," and thus makes 
this system truly dualistic. Even Fate, 、vhi('h takes jsiicli a pro- 
minent place in Wang Ch Kng's philosophy, lias been materialised 
by liim, and it is hardly anything more than a sort ot" a natural 
laAv. "We cannot be far wrong, if we characterise Lis philosophy 
as a materialistic monism. 

Compared M-itli western thought Wang CKung's system bears 
some resemblance to tlie natural pliilosopliy of Epicurus and Lucretius. 
In the East we find some kindred traits among the Indian mate- 
rialists, the Chdrvdkas. 

Epicurus attaches great importance to pliy^^ics. The knowledge 
of tlie natural causes of things shall be an antidote against super- 
stitious. Wang Cli ung likewise takes a lively interest in all jiliysioal 
problems, and tries to base his arguments on experience, as far as 
possible. He wishes to explain all natural phenomena by natural 
causes. His method is quite modern. If lie often falls into error 
nevertheless, it is not so much OAving to bad reasoning' as to the 


Lull- Hen u;: Introduction. 

poor state of Chinese science at liis time. He regards many things as 
proved by experience, which are not, and in spite of his radicalism 
lias still too iiincli veneration for tlie sayings of old classical aiitliors. 

Wang Clt'ung's views agree, in many respects, witli the Epi- 
curean 'Plivsirs. "but not with its Eudjeinonology and Sensualism, 
his Ethics being totally different. Etliical Epicureanism lias its 
representative in China, in the pre-Christian philosopher Yang C!m, who 
seems to have concerned himself with Ethics exclusively, whereas 
Wang CKung lias especially devoted Iiimself to the study of meta- 
physical and physical ([uestions. Tlie professed aim of the philo- 
sophy of Epicurus is liiiman happiness. By delivering them from 
errors and superstitions he intends to render people happy. Wang 
Cli unc) likewise hopes to do away with all inventions, fictions, and 
falsehoods, but in doing so lie lias truth, and not so much happi- 
ness in view. 

a) Metaphysics. 

Tlie pivots of Wang CJinng's pliilosopliy are Heaven and Earth, 
which have been formed of the two fluids, Yang and Yin. " The 
fluids of the Y/n and Yang, lie says, are the fluids of Heaven and 
Earth " (Cliap. XXX). These two principles are not of Wang CKung' s 
invention, tlioy are met with in ancient Chinese literature, in the 
Viking and tlie Liki for instance (see TcJtou Hi, Sa Doctrine et son 
influenc(% par S. Le Gall, Chang -hai 1894, p. 35). 

Earth is known to us, it has a material body like man 
(p. 03), but wliat are we to understand by Heaven ? Is it a spirit, 
the Spirit cil" Ileaven or God, or merely an expanse of air, the 
Blue Kmj)yreaii, or a substance similar to tliat of Eartli ? Wang 
Ch umj considers all these possibilities and decides in favour of tlie 
last. " Men are created by heaven, why then grudge it a body? " 
lie asks. " Heavi^n is not air, ]nit lias a body on high and far 
I'n'm men " ((、lia|,. XIX). " To liim who considers the question, as 
\v«* liavc (lone, it becomes evident that lioaven cannot be something 
(liHnsc aiul vafjiic." His reasons are that heaven lias a certain 
distance I'nmi cart li. which by Chinese mathematicians has been 
ralcnl.'ilrd ;if upwards of 60,000 Li, and that tlie constellations 
l<nmv" as the solar rnaiisioiis a re attacliod to it. These arguments 
s"''m slr;iii«^o to us iimv. but we m'lst, boar in mind that the Greeks, 
1 1"' 1);|!»\ |(iiii;iiis, .-111(1 t lie .lews held (jiiilc similar views, regarding 
lii'avni as ;mi iron or a brazen vault, the " rirniaineiit. " to which the 
«nn, the moon, and (lie Ht;irs were Hxed, or supposing even quite a 
number of celestial splieres one above the other, as Aristotle does. 

Wang Ch'uiig's Philosophy. 


Witli regard to the origin of" the universe Wcmg Cliung simply 
adopts the old croation theory, on which lie writes as follows : ― 
" The commentators of the YiJcing say that previous to tlie separ- 
ation of the primogenial vapours, there was a cliaotic and uniform 
mass, and tlie books of the Literati speak of a Avild medley, and 
of air not yet separated. Wlien it came to be separated, tlie pure 
elements formed heaven, and tlie impure ones, eartli. According 
to the expositors of the YiJcing and the writings of the Literati 
the bodies of lieaven and earth, when tliey iirst became separated, 
M ere still small, and tliey were not far distant from each other " 
{/oc. cit.). In conformity with tin's view Heaven and Eartli were 
originally one viz. air or vapour. This theory must be very old, 
for it is already alluded to in the Lik'i, and the Taoist philosopher 
LI eh Tse of the 5tli cent. B.C., who gives the best exposition of it, 
seems to refer it to tlie sages of former times. The passage is so 
interesting, tliat I may be permitted to quote it in full : ― 

" The teacher Li eh Tse said : ― Tlie sages of old "held that the 
Yang and the Yh govern heaven and earth. Now, form being 
born out of the formless, from what do lieaven and eartli take 
their origin? It is said: 一 There was a great evolution, a great 
inception, a great beginning, and a great homogeneity. During 
the great evolution, Vapours were still imperceptible, in the great 
inception Vapours originate, in the great beginning Forms appear, 
and during the great homogeneity Substances are produced." 

" The state when Vapours, Forms, and Substances though 
existing were still undivided, is called Chaos, 、vhich designates 
the conglomeration and inseparability of things. ' They could not 
be seen though looked at, not be heard though listened to, and 
not be attained though grasped at,' therefore one speaks of (incessant) 
evolution. Evolution is not bound to any forms or limits." 

" Evolution in its transformations produces one, the changes 
of one produce seven, the changes of seven produce nine. Nine 
is the climax, it clianges again, and becomes one. Witli oue forms' 
begin to change. " 

" The pure and light matter becomes the heaven above, tlie 
turbid and heavy matter forms the earth below. Tlie mixture 
of their fluids gives birth to man, aud the vitalizing- principle of 
heaven and eartli creates all beings " [Li eh Tse I, 2). 

In the Liki we read: ― " Propriety must liave sprung from 
the CIreat Oue. This by division became Heaven and Earth, and 
by transformation the Yin and the Yang " {Legges Lil'l. Vol. T, 
p: 3S6). 


Lim -Heng: Tntrodnction. 

It is curious to note the similarity of the Epicurean cosmogony 
with that of tlie ancient Chinese. Lucretius sings: ― 

" Quippe etenim primum terra i corpora quseque, 
propterea quod erant gravia et perplexa, coibant 
in medio atque inias capiebant omnia sedes; 
quae quanto magis inter se perplexa coibant, 
tarn magis expressere ea quae mare sidera solem 
lunamque efficerent et magni moenia mundi: 
omnia enim magis hjec e levibus atque rotundis 
seminibus multoque minoribu' sunt dementis 
quam tellus, ideo, per ram foramina, terrse 
partibus eriimpens primus se sustulit sether 
ignifer et multos secum levis abstulit ignis." 

and further on: ― • 

" Sic igitiir terrse concrete corpore pondus 
constitit, atque onmis niundi quasi limns in imiim 
confluxit gravis et subsrdit funditus ut fex ; 
inde mare, inde aer, inde sether ignifer ipse 
corporibus liquidis sunt omnia pura relicta 
et leviora aliis alia, et liquidissimus aether 
atque levissimus aerias super intluit auras, 
nec liquidum corpus turbantibus aeris aiiris 

(Lucr. V, 439-449; 485-493.) 

The principle of division is tlie same : ― the light primary 
bodies Wanr/ Cli ung and tlie Chinese cosraogonists term Yang, the 
heavy ones they designate by Yin. Only in respect of the line of 
demarcation the Epicureans and tlie Chinese differ, for, wliereas 
the former regard earth alone as heavy and water, air and etlier 
as light matter, the Cliinese comprise earth and water under the 
term Yin, and air and fiery ether under Yang. From various utter- 
ances of Wang CK ung it would app(w that lie conceives tlic Ycwg 
as a fiery and tlic Yin as a watery element, in short that Yang is 
fire and Yin water. This would tolerably well account for tlie 
formation of the univorse. Fire forms tlie sun, the moon, and tlie 
other luminaries of Heaven, while from water and its sediments 
Eartli, tlic oceans, aiul the atinosplien* are develoj)e(l. " The solar 
fluid is identical with the heavenly fluid" (('hap. XVI 11), says Wang 
('liuiic), and : ― " Kain is Yin^ and brigl"m、ss Yumj, and conversely 
(•old is Yin, ntul Avai'intli is Yw"j " ((^hap. XXI). 

The other attribute's o;iven by Wavr/ Cli nay to the Ycwg and 
tlio Yin j)nn(M])los m(、rely tlic (qualities of lire and water. The 

Wang Ch'ung'.s Philosophy. 


Ymu/, tlie fiery etlier or tlie solar fluid, is bright, /. e. light (Chap. XX), 
warm (("hap. XXI), dry (Chap. XVUI), vivifying, and creative 
(Clia]). XXI). The Ym, rain or water, is dark, cold, wet, and 
destructive (p. 111). By itself water possesses neither light nor 
Avarmth, and may well be 'called dark and cold. 

There is not a strict separation of the fluids of Heaven and 
Earth, tliey often mix and permeate one another. Heaven as well 
as Earth enclose air (Chap. XIX). The immense mass of air forming 
tlie gaseous part of Heaven, wliicli, as we have seen, is credited 
Avitli a body, is called sky (p. 113). 

Now, whereas Earth rests motionless in the centre of the 
Av oriel , Heaven revolves around it, turning from east to west. 
This movement is explained as the emission of the heavenly fluid 
wliicli, however, takes place spontaneously. Spontaneity is another 
corner-stone of Wang Cli ung's system. It means that this move- 
ment is not governed by any intelligence or subservient to the 
purposes of any spirit us rector, but is solely regulated by its own 
inherent natural laws. Tlie same idea is expressed in Mddhaodcharya's 
Sarva-Darsana Sangraha : 

"The fire is hot, the water cold, refreshing cool the breeze of morn. 
By whom came this variety ? From their own nature was it born." 

(Sarva-Darsana-Samffraha, translated by E. B. Cotcell and A E. Goagh, 

London 1882, p. 10.) 

Wang CJiting admits that he lias adopted the principle of 
spontaneity from the Taoists, who however, have not sufficiently 
substantiated it by proofs (p. 97). He shows that Heaven cannot 
display a conscious activity like man, because such activity is 
evoked by desires and impulses, wliicli require organs : ― the eye, 
the mouth, etc. The heavenly fluid is not a human body with 
eyes and ears, but a formless and insensible mass (p. 93). The 
observation of the natural growth of plants and of the regularity 
oi' other natural phenomena precluding the idea of special designed 
acts, lias confirmed our philosopher in his belief in spontaneity, 
" The principle of Heaven is inaction," he says. Accordingly in 
spring it does not do the germinating, in summer the growing, 
in autumn the ripening, or in winter the hiding of the seeds. 
When the Yang fluid comes forth spontaneously, plants will ger- 
minate and grow of themselves and, when the Yin fluid rises, they 
ripen and disappear of their own accord " (p. 99). 

The movement of the Yin. fluid is spontaneous likewise. 
Heaven and Earth cannot act, nor do they possess any kuow- 

Lun- Ileiig. 2 


Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

ledge " (p. 101). They are not inert, but their activity is uninten- 
tional and purposeless. Thus spontaneity is the law of nature. 

From this point of view Wang C/iung characterises the fluid of 
Heaven as "placid, tranquil, desireless, inactive, and unbusied" ([). 
93), all attributes ascribed by the Taoists to their Mundane Soul, Iho. 

At all times Heaven lias been personified and deified. With 
the Chinese as well as with us Heaven lias become a synonym 
for God. Wang CJiimg notices that liuman qualities have been 
attributed to liim. We see in him the Father of Mankind, the 
Chinese an emperor, the " Supreme Ruler," Shang Tl. He lives in 
heaven like a king in his palace, and governs the world (Chap. XXII) 
meting out rewards and punisliraents to mankind, rewarding the 
virtuous (p. 160), and punishing' the wicked (p. 1()4). He reprimands 
the sovereigns on earth for their misrule by means of extraordinary | 
natural phenomena, and, unless they reform, visits them and their 
people with misfortune (p. 126). Tliuuder is Iris angry voice, and 
with his thunderbolt he strikes the guilty (Chap, XXII). 

Regarding Heaven as nothing else than a substance, a pure 
and tenuous fluid without a mind, Wang CJi ung cannot but reject 
these anthropomorphisms. Heaven has no mouth, no eyes: it 
does not speak nor act (p. 183), it is not affected by men (p. 110), 
does not listen to their prayers (p. 113), and does not reply to the 
questions addressed to it (p. 184). 

By a fusion of the fluids of Heaven and Earth all the organ- 
isms on earth have been produced (p. 104). Man does not make an 
exception. In this respect Heaven and Earth are like husband and 
wife, and can be regarded as the father and the raotliei" of man- 
kind (Chap. XX). The same idea has been enunciated by Lucretiiis : ― 

" Postrenio pereunt imbres, ubi eos pater ather 
in gremium matris terrai prsecipitavit : 
at nitida> snrgunt fruges, ramique virescunt 
arboriliiis, crescunt ipsfe letiujue grnvantiir." 

[Liicr. I, 250-253.) 

and further on: ― 

" Denique caelesti siimus omnes seniine oriundi : 
omnibus ille idem pater est, unde alma liqm'nt'is 
iimoris guttas mater cum terra recepit, 
feta pm'it nitidas I'niges ai-biistaque Iseta, 
et genus Iminanum parit, onuiin sfvcula ferarum. 
pabiiln cum pra?bet, (I'libiis (mines corpora pascuiit 
et diilceni diicunt vitani prolemque .propagant; 
(|iiaj)i'02)ter inerito inaterniiin nomen adeptast." 

{Lucr. II, 988-995.) 

Wang rh'ung's Philosophy. 


Wong CK ring compares the (; roation of man to the freezing 
of ice. Ho is the produce of tlie mixture and concretion or cry- 
stallization of tlie two primary fluids: ― " During the chilly winter 
mouths tlie cold air prevails, and water turns into ice. At the 
approach of spring, tlie air becomes warm, and the ice melts to 
water. Man is born in the universe, as ice is produced so to 
speak. The Yang and tlie Yin fluids crystallize, and produce man. 
Wlien liis years are completed, and his span of life comes to its 
end, he dies and reverts to those fluids " p. 196). 

The Yin forms the body, and the Y(ing produces the vital 
spirit and the mind. Both are identical, Wang C/iung does not 
discriminate between the anima and the animus : ― "That by which 
man is born are the Yang and the Yin fluids: the Yin fluid produces 
his bones and flesh, tlie Yang fluid the vital spirit. While man is 
alive, the Yang and Yin fluids are in order. Hence bones and flesli 
arc strong-, and tlie vital force is full of vigour. Tlirougli the vital 
force he has knowledge, and Avitli his boues and flesh he displays 
strength. The vital spirit can speak, the body continues strong- 
and robust. While bones and flesh and the vital spirit are entwined 
and linked together, they are always visible and do not perish" 
(Chap. XVIII)." 

Man is imbued with the heavenly or vital fluid at his birth. 
It is a formless mass like the yolk of an egg, before it is hatched, 
showing in this respect the nature of the [)rimogenial vapours, from 
u hicli it has been derived (p. 199). There is no difference between 
tlie vital forces of man and animals. They have the same origin. 
Tlie vital fluid resides in the blood and the arteries, and is nour- 
ished and developed by eating and drinking' (p. 194). It has to 
fulfil two difficult functions, to animate the body and keep it alive, 
and to form its mind. All sensations are caused by the vital 
fluid: 一 " Wlieu the vital fluid is thinking or meditating, it flows 
into the eyes, the mouth or the ears. When it flows into the 
eyes, the eyes see shapes, when it flows into the ears, tlie ears 
h<>ar sounds, and, when it flows into the moutli, the mouth speaks 
something " (Chap. XVIII). Wang CK ung imagines that all sensations 
are produced in their organs by the vital fluid, which must be the 
mental power as well, since it thinks and meditates. Insanity is 
defined as a disturbance of the vital force {end.). There are no 
supernatural mental faculties and no prophets or sages knowing' 
tlie future or possessing a special knowledge derived from any 
other source than the vital force (p. 61). It is also the will, which 
causes the mouth to speak. As such it determines the character, 



Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

which in Wang CK ting's belief depends upon its quantity (Chap. XXXI). 
As vital energy it modifies the length of Imman life, which ceases, 
as soon as this energy is used up (Chap. XXVII). 

From what our author says about ghosts and spirits in parti- 
cular, which consist of the Yang fluid alone without any Yin, we 
can infer that he conceived of the human soul also as an aura, a 
warm breath identical to a certain extent with the solar fluid. 

It is easy to see, liow tlie Chinese came to denote the body 
as Yin and tlie soul as Yang ― I believe that these notions were al- 
ready current at Wang CKung's time, who only took them up, Tlie 
body is formed of a much coarser stuff tlian tlie soul, consisting 
as it does of solid and liquid matter. Therefore tliey presume 
that it must have been produced from the heavier and grosser 
substance, the Yin, wliile the purer and lighter Yang formed tlie 
soul. A living body is wai'm, warmth is a quality of the Yang 
fluid, consequently the vital force must be Yang. The mind en- 
lightens tlie body, the Yang fluid is light as Avell, ergo tlie mind 
is the Yang fluid. The last conclusion is not correct, the mind not 
being a material liglit, but a Chinese would not hesitate to use 
such an analogy: their philosophy abounds witli such symbolism. 

The ideas of the Epicureans on the nature of the soul agree 
very well witli Wang Cli ungs views. According to Epicurus the 
soul is a tenuous substance resembling a breatli with an admixture 
of some warmth, dispersed tlirougli the whole organism : ― '巧 x',/ 
crw^d IcTTL XsTTTOjjLspEg, Trap o 入 ov to aiy poLcrfxa TrapsaTvapy-ivcv^ 7rpoa£jj.(^spicr- 
rarov d\ TVVBVfxcLTi ^epjxov nva ypaaiv sx^vn {Diog. Laert. X, 60). 

Elsewhere the soul is described as a mixture of four sub- 
stances : a fiery, an aeriform, a pneumatical, and a nameless one, 
which latter is said to cause sensations : — npajm l/. rerrapa'v, Ik nciov 
nvpwdovg, Ik ttolov aEOwdovg, sk ttolov TrvsvjJtarLxov^ ix rsrapTOv nvog axa- 
TovofjLOia-Tov {Plut. Plac. IV, 3). 

Lucretius says that the soul consists of iimcli finer atoms than 
those of water, mist or smoke, and that it is produced, groAvs, and 
ages together with the body {Lucr. Ill, 425-427, 444-445). When 
a man dies, a fine, warm, aura leaves his body (III, 232). 

As regards man's position in nature Wang Cli ung asserts that 
he is tlie noblest and most intellii>rnt cvoature, in wliicli the uiiiul 
of riociven and Earth reach their highest development (Chap. XLllI); 
still lie is a creature like others, and there exists no fuiiclamental 
difference bet、v('('n liiin and other animals (j). 202). Wang Ch'uiir/ 
likes to insist upon the utter insignificance of man, wlien com- 
pared with the immense grandeur of Heaveu and Earth. It seems 

Wang Ch\iiig\s Philosophy, 


to have given him some satisfaction to put men, who are living 
on Earth, on a level witli fleas and lice feeding upon the human 
body, ior we find tin's drastic simile, wliicli cannot have failed 
to hurt tlie feelings of many of his self-sufficient countrymen, repeated 
several times (p. 183, Chap. XXVI). In short, according to Wang 
Ch Hiiy man does not occupy the exceptional position in the world 
wliich lie uses to vindicate for himself. He has not been created 
on purpose, as notliing else has, the principle of nature being 
chance and spontaneity (p. 103). The world has not been created 
lor the sake of man. " Some people," remarks Wang Cliung, " are of 
opinion that Heaven produces grain for the purpose of feeding 
mankind, and silk and hemp to clothe them. That would be 
tantamount to makiug Heaven the farmer of man or 】iis mulberry 
girl, it would not be in accordance with spontaneity " (p. 92). As 
ail argument against the common belief tliat Heaven produces his 
creatures on purpose, he adduces the struggle for existence, for 
says Wang Cli ung: 一 " If Heaven had produced its creatures on 
purpose, he ought to have taught them to love each other, and 
not to prey upon and destroy one another. One might object that 
such is the nature of the five elements that, when Heaven creates 
all tilings, it imbues tliem with the fluids of the five elements, 
and that these figlit together and destroy one another. But then 
Heaven ought to have filled its creatures with the fluid of one 
element only, and taught tliem mutual love, not permitting the fluids 
of tlie five elements to resort to strife and mutual destruction" (p. 104). 

Here again Wa//(/ (7/ ung is in perfect accord with the Epi- 
cureans. Epicurus asserts that notliing- could be more preposterous 
than the idea that nature lias been regulated Avitli a view to the 
well-being of mankind or with any purpose at all. The world is 
not as it ought to be, if it had been created for tlie sake of man, 
lor liow could Providence produce a world so full of evil, where 
the virtuous so often are maltreated and the wicked triumph? 
(Zeller, Pliilosopliie der Griechen, III. Teil, 1. Abt., 1880, pp. 398 
sec[. and 428.) 

The same sentiment finds expression in tlie follo、viug' verses 
of the Epicurean poet: ― 

" Nam quamvis rem in ignorem primordia quae sint, 
hoc tanien ex ipsis cseli rationibus ausim 
coiifinnare aliisque ex rebus reddere multis, 
nequaquani nobis divinitus esse creatam 
naturain mundi: tanta stat prsedita culpa." 

{Lucr. n, 177-181 and V, 185-189.) 


Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

Although man owes his existence to the Y(wg and tlu^ Yin fluids, 
as we have seen, lie is naturally born by propagation from his 
own species. Heaveu does not specially come down to generate 
liiiii. All the stories of supernatural births recorded in the Classics, 
where women were specially fecundated by the Spirit of Heaven, 
are inventions (p. 48). Human life lasts a certain time, a lmncli'(、cl 
years at most, then man dies (p. 46). A prolongation of life is 
impossible, and man cannot obtain immortality (p. 50): ― "Of all 
the beings with bloocl in their veins, says our philosopher, there 
are none but are born, and of those endowed witli life tlierc are 
none but die. From the iact that they were born, one knows that 
tliey must die. Heaven and Earth were not born, therefore they 
do not die. Death is the correlate of bii'tli, and birth the counter- 
part of death. That wliicli lias a beginning must have an end, 
a 11 d that which lias an end, must necessarily liave a beginning". 
Only that which is without beginning or end, lives for ever and 
never dies " (Chap. XXVIII). 

To show that the human soul is not iininortal and does not 
possess any personal existence after death Wang Cli ung reasons as 
follows: ― During life tlie Yauy lliiid, i, e. the vital spirit or the soul, 
adheres to the body, by death it is dispersed and lost. By its 
own nature this iluid is neither conscious, nor intelligent, it lias no 
will and does not act, for the principle of the Yang or the heavenly 
fluid is unconsciousness, inaction, and spontaneity . But it acquires 
meutal faculties and becomes a soul, by its temporary connection 
with a body. The body is the necessary substratum of intelligence, 
just as a tire requires a substance to burn. By death " that which 
harbours intelligence is destroyed, and that wliicli is (tailed in- 
telligence disappears. Tlie body requires the (luid for its mainten- 
ance, and the fluid the body to become conscious. There is no 
fire in tlic world burning quite of itself, how could there be an 
essence without a body, but conscious of itself " (p. 195). The state 
of the soul aftci' death is tlie same as that Ix^lbrr l)irth. " Bel ore 
tlieir birtli men have no consciousness. Hel'orc they a re born, they 
lor in part of tlie priniogenial (luid, and wlien they di(、, they revert 
to it. Tliis |)i*ini()g<Miial Iluid is vague and (liHusc, and tlio liunian 
iluid a part ol* it. Anterior to his birtli, man is devoid of con- 
sciousness, and at liis death he returns to this oi-igiiial state of 
uncoiis (; iousncss, lor how sliould lie be conscious? " (p. 194.) 

WciTHj ( J It nay puts forward a number arguments against 
immortality. 11* there w("v' spirits oC the dead, I hoy would certainly 
inaiiil'i'fcil tlu'msrlv(、s. riiry i"、v("' do, (U)ns(H|iu*ntly there are nonv 

Wang ri/ung's Philosophy. 


(p. 193). Other animals do not become spirits after death, where- 
Ibre should man alone be immortal, for though the most highly 
organised creature, still lie is a creature and falls under the general 
la、vs (p. 191). The vital spirit or soul is aflected by external iii- 
tluencos, it grows by nourishment, relaxes, and becomes unconscious 
by sleep, is deranged and partly destroyed by sickness, and the 
climax of sickness, death, which dissolves the body, should not 
affect it at all? (p. 196.) 

At all times the dogma of immortality has been negatived by 
materialistic philosophers. The line of arguments of tlie Greek as 
well as the Indian materialists is very much akin to that of Wang CJiung. 

Epicurus maintains that, when the body decays, the soul be- 
comes scattered, and loses its faculties, wliicli cannot be exercised in 
default of a body :— xat jur^v y.a\ bia\vQ]xivov tov cKc" a^poLafxarcg rj ipvxyj 
diaaTTsipsTaL xai ovkItl zyzi rac, avrac, dvvajxsLc, ovds xlvhtul, wot ov6' al<7 一 mv 
xsKTTjTat.. ov yap olov rs vosTv avrrjv ala^avo^ivriv, fxrj h tovtw tuJ aucrrrjjuaTt 
y-cil rati; xtvYjaECL ravraic, xpwju/vrjv, orav to. ajeyoX^ovjo. xat mpiixovra jurj 
Toiavr Yj ot; vvv ovaa z~xbl ravrag rag xLvriasLg {Diog. Laert. X, 65-66). 

He adds that an immaterial essence can neither act nor 
sillier, and that it is foolish to say that the soul is incorporeal : ― 
TO 6e kzvov ovtz TTOLrjaaL ovts Tva^sLv dwarat . . . . oi' Xiyovrsg aawjxaTov Bivat 
rrjV xpvx^v jutarai^ouo-tv. 

From tlie fact tliat the vital fluid is born with the body, that 
it grows, develops, and declines along witli it, Lucretius infers that 
tlie iluid must also be dissolved simultaneously with the body, 
scattered into the air like smoke: 一 

" ergo dissolvi quoque convenit omnem animai 
natural", ceu ftmius, in altas aeris auras; 
quandoqiiidein gigiii paiiter paiiterque videmiis 
crescere et, ut docui, simul fevo fessa fatisci." 

{Lucr. in, 455-458.) 
What Wang Cliung asserts about tlie influence of sickness on tlie 
soul (p. 196), Lucretius expresses in tlie following pathetic verses : 一 
" Qiiin etiam moi'bis in corporis avius en'at 
saepe animus: denientit enim deliraque fatur, 
interdumque gravi lethargo fertiir in altum 
cctenuunqiie soporeni oculis nutuque cadenti; 
uiide neque exaudit voces nec noscere voltus 
illoruin potis est, ad vitam qui revocantes 
circuin slant lacriniis rorantes ora genasque, 
<iuare aninium quoque dissolvi fateare necessest, 
quandoquidem penetrant in euin contagia morbi." 

{Lucr. m, 463-471.) 


Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

The interaction of body and mind, wliicli thrive only, as 
long as they are joined together, and both decay, when tliey have : 
been separated, the poet describes as follows : ― 

" Denique corporis atque ariinii vivata potestas 
inter se coniuncta valent vitaque fniuntur : 
nec sine corpore enini vitalis edere uiotus 
sola potest animi per se iiatura nec auteni 
cassum animi corpus durare et sensibus uti." 

{Liter. m, 55G-560.) 

As the tree does not grow in the sky, as fisli do not live on 
tlie fields, and as blood does not run in wood, thus the soul cannot 
reside anywhere else than in the body, not in the clods of earth, 
or in the fire of the sun, or in the water, or in the air {Liter, V, j 
133-134) and, when the body dies, it must become auniliilated 

" Denique in sethere non arbor, non sequore salso 
nubes esse queunt, nec pisces vivere in arvis, 
nec cruor in lignis neque saxis sucus inesse. 
certum ac disposituinst ubi quicquid crescat et insit. 
sic animi uatura nequit sine corpore oriri 
so】a neque a nervis et sanguine longiter esse." 

(Lucr. m, 781-786.) 

" quare, corpus ubi interiit, periisse necessest 
confiteare animain distractain in corpore toto." 

' (Loc. cit. 795-796.) 

Of the Chwvdlcas it is said by Sankara tliat " seeing no soul, 
but body, they maintain the non-existence of soul other than 
body." ― " Thought, knowledge, recollection, etc. perceptible only 
wliere organic body is, are prop(u'ties of an. organized frame, not 
appartainiiig to exterior substances, or earth and ()th(、r elements 
simple or aggregate, unless formed into such a frame/' 

"While there is body, thcrQ is thought, and sense of pleasmv 
and pain, none wlien body is not, and 】ienct、 as well as from self- 
consciousness it is concluded tliat self and body are identical. " 
(//. T. Colehroke^ Mis(5eIlaneous Essays, vol. II, p. 428 seq.) 

The dictum tliat everyone is the child of his time applies to 
Wang Cli nnfj also, free-thinker though lie be. He lias tlirown over 
board a great nuuiy popular beliels ami superstitions, but he could 
not get rid of all, and keeps a good deal. His veiieratiou of anti- 
quity and 1 lie sag(5S ol" old is not unlimited, but it exists and in- 
duces him to accept many of ilicMr idcns, wln(*li his unbiassed 
ri itical genius would ])r()bably have rcjcctcnl. Lilvc ( lie majority 

Wang ri/iiiig's Philosophy. . 25 

of his countrymen lie believes in Fate, and Pyedciithintinn. IIoAvever, 
Jiis Fate is not Providence, I'or lie does not recognise any Superior 
Being governing the world, and it has been considerably mate- 
rialised. On a rather vague utterance of Tse Hsia, a disciple of 
Confucius, who probably never thought of tlie interpretation it would 
receive at the hands of Wang C/t wig, he builds liis theory : ― "Life 
and death depend on Destiny, wealth and honour come from Heaven " 
(Analects XII, 5). The destiny, says Wang C/rung, which fixes the 
duration of hum an life, is tlie lieavenly lluid, i. e. the vital force, 
with which man is imbued at his birth. This fluid forms liis 
constitution. It can be exuberant, then the constitution is strong, 
and life lasts loug; or it is scanty, then the body becomes delicate, 
and death ensues early. This kind of Fate is after all nothing else 
than the bodily constitution (pp. 1 38 and 46). In a like manner is 
wealth and honour, prosperity and unliappiness transmitted in the 
stary lluid, with wliicli men are likewise filled at tlieir birth. "Just 
as Heaven emits its fluid, the stars send forth their effluence, 
which keeps amidst the heavenly fluid. Imbibing this fluid men 
are born, and live, as long as they keep it. If they obtain a fine 
one, they become men of rank, if a common one, common people. 
Their position may be higher or lower, and tlieir wealth bigger 
or smaller " (p. 138). Consequently tliis sort of Fate determining 
the amount of happiness which falls to man's share during his 
life- time, depends on tlie star or tlie stars under which he has 
been born, and can be calculated by the astrologers. This science 
was flourishing at Wang CIi wig's time and officially recognised. On 
all important occasions the court astrologers were consulted. 

Now, Fate, whether it be the result of tlie vital force or of 
the stary fluid, is not always definitive. It may be altered or 
modified by various circumstances, and only remains uncliangecl, 
if it be stronger tlian all antagonistic forces. As a rule " the 
destiny regulating man's life-time is more powerful, than the one 
presiding over his prosperity " (p. 137). If a man dies suddenly, 
it is of 110 use that the stary iluid had stiJI much happiness in store 
lor him. Moreover " the destiny of a State is stronger than tliat 
ol" individuals " (loc. cit.). Many persons are involved in the dis- 
aster of their country, who by Heaven were predetermined for a 
loug and prosperous iiie. 

The circumstances modifying man's original fate are often 
denoted as lime. Besides Wang CJi ung distinguishes Contingencies, 
Chances, and Incidents, diilerent names for almost the same idea 
(p. 142). These incidents may b(、 happy or unhappy, tliey may 


Lun - Heiig : Introduction. 

tally witli the original destiny or disagree with it, completely 
cliaiige it, or be repulsed. If an innocent man be thrown into jail, 
but is released again, this unlucky contingency was powerless 
against his favourable destiny; whereas, wlien hundreds or thou- 
sands perisli together in a catastrophe the disaster they met with 
Avas so paramount that their good fate and thriving luck could not 
ward it off" {eod.). 

We see Wang Ch ung s Fate is not the inexorable decree of 
Heaven, tlie slfxapjjiivri of the Greeks, the dira necessitas^ or tlie 
patristic predestination, being partly natural (vital fluid), partly 
supei'uatural (stary fluid), and partly chance. 

Epicurus impugns fatalism, and so does Me Ti and liis school 
on tlie ground tliat fatalism paralyzes liuinaii activity and is sub- 
vertive of morality. There were scholars at Wang Ch tmg's time wlio 
attempted to mitigate the rigid fatalism by a compromise with self- 
determination. They clistinguislied three kinds of destiny: — tlie 
natural, the concomitant, and the adverse. Natural destiny is a 
destiny not interfered with by human activity. The concomitant 
destiny is a combination of destiny and activity both working in 
the same direction, either for the good or for the bad of the 
individual, whereas in the adverse destiny the two forces work in 
opposite directions, but destiny gets the upper hand (p. 138). 

Wang C/t ting repudiates this scholastic distinction, urging that 
virtue and wisdom, in short that human activity has no influence 
whatever on late, a blind force set already in motion before the new- 
born begins to act (p. 141). There is no connection and no liarinouy 
between human actions and fate. Happiness is not a reward for 
virtue, or unliappiness a punishment for crimes. Wang Cliung ad- 
duces abundance of instances to show, liow often tlie wise and 
tJie virtuous are miserable and tormented, while scoundrels thrive 
and flourish (( 'hap. Xll). Therefore a wise man should lead a 
tranquil and (j[uiet life, placidly awaiting his fate, and enduring' 
what cannot be clianged (p. 145). 

Ill the matter of Fate Wang Cliting shares all the common 
prejudices of his countrymen. Fate, he thinks, can be ascertained 
by nMrology a nd it can he foreseen fro m phydognondes^ omens, dreants^ 
and (tjrparitioiis of gliosis an<l spirits. Tl""'e are special mi - dismd 
sciences i'or all these branches: ― ant liroposcopy, divination, oneiro- 
inaiicy, iiecroinancy, etc. 

Anthroposcopy pretends to know the late not only from man's 
features and t he lines of Lis skin (p. 47), but also from the osseous 
structure ol' the body and particularly from bodily abnormities 

Wang ri/unii's Philosophy. 


(Chap. XXTV). Many sucli instances liave been recorded in ancient 
Chinese books. Of features the physiognomists used to distinguisli 
70 (liilerent ('lasses (p. 72). In accordauce with this theory W,f〃'y 
Vh ung opines that tlio vital fluid, the beart'i" of destiny, finds ex- 
pression ill the forms and featuros of the body, and can be read 
by the soothsayers. Ho remarks that a person's character may 
likewise be determined from his features, but that no regular science 
for this purpose has been developed (Chap. XXIV). 

Of Omens or Portents there are auspicious and inauspicious 
ones, lucky or unlucky auguries. Freaks of nature, and rare •speci- 
mens, sometimes only existing iu imagination, are considi'red auspi- 
cious e. g. sweet dew and wiiw spHugs believed to appear in very 
propitious times, iu the vegetable kingdom : ― the purple boletus, and 
auspicious grass, in the animal kingdom : — the phceniv, the unkorn, 
the dragon, the tortoise, and other fabulous animals (p. 56). Wang 
CI I ling discourses at great length ou the nature and the form of 
these auguries. They are believed to be forebodings of the rise 
ol" a wise emperor or of the birt 1 1 of a sage, and harbingers of a 
time of universal peace. Those Sages are oftentimes distinguishable 
by a lialo or an aureole above their heads. The Chinese historical 
works are full of sucli 、vonderful signs. But all these omens are 
by no means intentionally sent by Heaven, nor responses to ques- 
tions addressed to it by man. They liappeu spontaneously and 
by cliauce (p. 186), simultaneously with those lucky events, which 
they are believed to indicate. There exists, as it were, a certain 
natural harmony between human life and the forces of nature, 
manifested by those omens. 

"Dreams, says Wang CJiung, are visions. When good or bad 
luck are impending;, the mind shapes these visions " (p. 215). He 
also declares that dreams are produced by the vital spirit (p. 200), 
Avhicli amounts to the same, for the mind is the vital fluid. Iu 

H (tug Ch uny's time there already existed the theory still held at 
present by many Chinese that during a dream the vital spirit leaves 
the body, and communicates with the outer world, and that it is 
not before the awakening that it returns into the spiritless , body. 

11(7"〃 Cli uny combats this view, showing that dreams are images 
only, which have no reality. He further observes that there are 
direct and indirect dreams. The former directly show a future 
event, the latter are symbolical, aud must be explained by the 

Wang C/i ung denies the immortality of the soul, but at the 
same time he believes in Ghosts :iud Spirits. His ghosts, however, 


Lun - Hong : Introduction. 

are very poor figures, phantoms and semblances still less substantial 
than the Shades of Hades. They are uuembodied apparitions, have 
no consciousness (p. 194), feel neither joy nor paiu, and can cause 
neither good nor evil (Chap. XLII). They have human shape or 
are like mist and smoke (Chap. XLIV). The origin of ghosts and 
spirits is the same as that of the other inaiiifL'stations of fate : feat- 
ures, omens, and dreams, namely the solar fluid and the vital force 
or Yang. " When the solar fluid is powerful, but devoid of the Yi'n, 
it can merely produce a semblance, but no body. Being no tiling 
but the vital fluid without bones or flesh, it is vague and diffuse, 
and when it appears, it is soon extinguished again " (Chap. XVIII). 

Consequently ghosts and spirits possess the attributes of the 
solar fluid: ― "The fluid of fire flickers up and clown, and so phan- 
toms are at one time visible, and another, not. A dragon is an 
animal resorting from the Yang principle, therefore it can always 
change. A ghost is the Yang fluid, therefore it now appears and 
then absconds. The Yang fluid is red, lieuce the ghosts seen by 
people, Lave all uniform crimson colour. Flying demons are Yang, 
which is fire. Consequently flying demons sliiue like fire. Fire 
is hot aud burning, hence the branches and leaves of trees, on 
wliicli these demons alight, wither aud die " [eod.). The solar 
fluid is sometimes poisonous, therefore a ghost being burning poisou, 
may eventually kill somebody (Chap. XXIII). 

Many other theories on ghosts were current at Wang Cliung's 
time, one of which very well agrees witli liis system, to wit that 
in many cases ghosts are visions or hallucinations of sick people. 
Others were of opinion that ghosts are apparitions of the lluid of 
sickness, some held that they are tlie essence of old creatures. 
Another idea was that ghosts originally live in men, and at tlieir 
deaths are transformed, or that they are spiritual beings not much 
(liilerent from man. According to one theory they would be the 
spirits of cyclical signs (Cliap. XVllI). 

According to Wuug Cli uiigs idea ghosts and spirits are only 
one class of the many wonders and miracles lia 小 )i)eiiiiig' between 
heaven and ein-tli. " Between heaven and earth, he says, there 
are many wonders in words, iti sound, and in writing. Either the 
miraculous lluid assumes a human shape, or a man lias it in him- 
self, and perfoi'ins the miracles. The ghosts, which appear, are all 
aj)|)antion8 in human shape. Men doing wonders with the fluid 
in tlicin, a re sorcerers. Real sorcerers have no basis for what they 
say, and yd. tlieir lucky or unlucky propliecies fall from tlieir lips 
spontaneously like the quaint sayings ol" boys. The moutli of boys 

Wang Ch ung's Philosophy. 


utters those quaint sayings spontaneously, and tlie idea of their 
oration comes to wizards spontaneously. The moutli speaks of 
itself, and the idea comes of itself. Thus the assumption of human 
form by the miracles, and their sounds are spontaneous, and their 
words come forth of" their own accord. It is the same thing in 
l)()tli cases " {loc. cit.). The miraculous fluid may also assume the 
shape of an animal like die hog foreboding the death of Duke 
Ihiang of Cli i [eod.), or of an inanimate thing like the yellow 
stone into wliicli Chang Liang was transforuiecl (Chap. XXX). 

b) Physics. 

Wang Cliung does not discriininate between a traiisceiulental 
Uedven and a material Sky, He knows but one solid Heaven formed 
of the Yaug fluid and filled -\vitli air. 

Tliis Heaven appears to us like an upturned bowl or a reclin- 
ing- uinbrelhi, but that, says Wang CKung^ is an optical illusion 
caused by the distance. Heaven and Earth seem to be joined at 
the horizon, but experience shows us that that is not the case. 
I Vang Cliung holds that Heaven is as level as Earth, forming a 
Hat plain (Chap. XX). 

Heaven turns from East to West round the Polar Star as a 
centre, carrying with it the Sun, the Moou, and the Stars. The 
Sua and the Moon have their own movements in opposite direction, 
from West to East, but they are so much slower tlian that of 
Heaven, that it carries them along all the same. He compares 
their movements to tjiose of ants crawling on' a rolling mill-stone 
{eod.). Plato makes Heaven rotate like a spindle. The planets 
take part in this movement of Heaven, but at the same time, tliougli 
more slowly, move iu opposite direction by means of the o"cp。'vdt' 入 ot 
forming the whirl ( Uberweg-Heinze, Geschiclite der Pliilosopliie, 
vol. I, p. 180). 

Heaven makes iu one day and one night one complete circum- 
volution of 365 degrees. One degree being calculated at 2,000 Li, 
tlie distance made by Heaven every 24 hours measures 730,000 Li. 
The Sim proceeds only one degree 二 2,000 Li, the Moon 13 de- 
grees :二 26,000 Li. Wang Cli'uug states that this is the opinion 
of the Literati [eod.). Heaven's movement appears to us very 
slow, owing to its great distance from Earth. Iu reality it is very 
last. The Chinese mathematicians have computed the distance at 
upwards of 60,000 Li. The Taoist pliilosoplier Huai Nan Tse avers 
that it measures 50,000 Li (Cliap. XIX). 


Lun-Hriig: Introduction. 

The body of tlie Earth is still more solid than that of Heaven 
and produced by the Yin fluid. Whereas Heaven is in constant 
motion, the Eartli does not move (Chap. XX). It measures 10,000 mill- 
ion square Li, Avliich would be more than 2,500 million square-km., 
and lias the shape of a rectangular, equilateral square, which is of 
course level. Wang CKung arrives at these figures in the following- 
way. The city of Loyang in Honan is by the Chinese regarded as 
the centre of the world and Annaiii or Jili-nan as the country over 
which the sun in his course reaches tlie soutliermost point. Ami am 
therefore would also be tlie southern limit of the Earth. The 
distance between Loyang and Annain is 10,000 Li. Now, Chinese 
who have been in Anuam have reported that the sun does not 
reach his south-point tlie re, and that it must be still further south. 
Wang CUung assumes that it might be 1 0,000 Li more south. Now 
Loyang , though being the centre of the known world i. e. China, 
is not the centre of the Earth. The centre of the Earth must be 
beneath the Polar Star, the centre of Heaven. Wang Cliiing supposes 
the distance between Loyang and the centre of the Earth below 
the pole to be about 30,000 Li. The distance from the centre of 
the Earth to its southern limit, the south-point of the siiu, thus 
measuring about 50,000 Li, tlie distance from the centre to the 
north-point must be tlic same. That would give 100,000 Li as the 
length of tlie Earth from north to south, ami tlie same uuinber 
can be assumed for tlio distance IVoni east to west (Chap. XIX). 

The actual world (China) lies in the south-east of the universe 
(Chap. XX). This peculiar idea may owe its origin to the observation 
that China lies south of the Polar Star, the centre of Heaven, and 
that at the east-side China is bordered by the ocean, whereas in 
the west the mainland continues. 

Tsou Yen, a scholar of the 4th cent. b.c. lias propounded the 
doctrine that there are Nine Continents, all surrounded by minor 
seas, and that China is but one of tliein, situated in the south-east. 
Beyond the Nine Continents there is still the Great Ocean. Wang 
Ch'urig discredits tins view, because neither the Great Yu, who is 
believed to Lave penetrated to tlie lartliesr limits of the Earth and 
to liave written down Lis ()l)S('rvM(ions in tlie S/mn-hai-king, nor 
Hnai Nan T'se, who liad great schohn's and experts in his service, 
mention anything about: (liircrcnt continents (Chap. XIX). 

This Earth is liigli iu llic North- West and low in the South- 
East, consequently the rivers (low i-astwards into tlie oc.ean (Chap. XX). 
This remark agiiiii applies only to China, which from the table land 
(; f Central Asia slopes cUnv u to thv ocean, where all her big rivers llovv. 

Wang Ch ung's Philosophy. 


Among the celestial bodies the Sun is the most im|)ort;uit. lie 
is a star like the Moon and the Planets, consisting of fire. His 
diameter has been found to measure 1,000 Li. The Sun follows 
the movement of Heaven, but lias his own at the same time. The 
common opinion tliat the sun and the other stars are round is 
erroneous. They only appear so by the distance. The Sun is 
fire, but fire is not round. The meteors that have been found, 
were not round. Meteors are stars, ergo the stars are not round 
{loc. fit.). 

At noon. Avlien the Sun is in tlie zenith, he is nearer to us 
than in the morning or the evening, because the perpendicular line 
iVom the zenith to the earth is shorter than the oblique lines, 
which must be drawn at sunrise or sunset. It is for this reason 
also that the sun is hottest, when lie is culminating. That the 
Sun in the zenith appears smaller than, when lie rises or sets, 
whereas, being uearer then, he ought to be l)ig"ger, is because in 
bright daylight every lire appears smaller than in the darkness or 
at dawn (eod.). 

This question has already been broached by Lieh Tse V, 9 
who introduces two lads disputing about it, the one saying that 
the Sun must be nearer at sunrise, because he is larger then, tlie 
other retorting that at noon lie is hottest, and therefore must be 
nearest at noon. C 'onf items is called upon to solve the problem, 
but caunot find a solution. 

Wang Ch ung is much nearer the truth than Epicurus, whose 
notorious argument on the size of the sun aud the moon, is not 
very much to his credit. He pretends that the stars must be 
about the size, which they appear to us, because fires did not 
lose anything of their heat, or their size by the distance {Diog. 
Laert. X, 91), wliicli is an evident mis-statement. Lucretius repeats 
these arguments [Lucr. V, 554-582). 

The different lengths of day and night in winter and summer 
Wang Ch ung attributes to the shorter and longer curves described 
by the Sun on different days. In his opinion the Sun would take 
16 different courses in heaven during the year. Other scholars 
speak of 9 only {eod.). Wang Ch' ung is well acquainted witli the 
winter and summer Solstices and the vernal and autumnal Equi- 
noxes {eod.). 

Whereas the Sun consists of fire, the Moon is water. Her 
apparent roundness is an illusion: water has no definite shape 
{eod.). Of the movement of the Moon we have already spoken. 
Ill Chinese natural philosophy the Moon is always looked upon as 


Luii-H(*iig : Iiitrochu'tion. 

the opposite of tlie Sun. The Sun ])eino; the orb of day and light 
is Yang, fire, consequently the Moon, the companion of night and 
darkness, must be Yin, water. The Sun appears brilliant and hot 
like a burning fire, the Moon pale and cool like glistening water. 
What wonder that the ancient Chinese should have taken her for 
real water, for Wang CJiung merely echoes the general belief. 

In the matter of Eclipses Wang Cli ung does not fall in with 
the view of many of his time, to the effect that the Sun and the 
Moon over-shadow and cover one another, nor with another theory 
explaining tlie eclipses by the preponderance of either of the two 
fluids, the Yin or the Yang, but holds that by a spontaneous move- 
ment of their fluids the Sun or tlie Moon shrink for a while to 
expand again, when tlie eclipse is over. He notes that those 
eclipses are natural and regular phenomena, and that on an average 
an eclipse of the Sun occurs every 41 or 42 months, and an eclipse 
of the Moon every 180 days (eod.). 

Epicurus and Lucretius are both of opinion that the fading of 
the Moon may be accounted for in different ways, and that there 
would be a possibility that the Moon really decreases i. e. shrinks 
together, and then increases again [Diog. Laert. X, 95; Lucr. V, 

Wang CI i ung is aware that ebb and high-tide are caused by 
the phases of the Moon, and tliat tlie famous " Bore" at HangcJion 
is not an ebullition of the River, resenting the crime committed 
on Wu Tse Hsii, who was unjustly drowned in its waters (p. 48). 

The Stars except the Five Planets, wliicli have their proper 
movement, are fixed to Heaven, and turn round witli it. Tlieir 
diameter lias been estimated at about 100 Li viz. ^/^q of tlie diameter 
of tlie Sun. That they do not appear bigger to us than eggs is 
tlie e fleet of their great distance. (Chap. XX). They are made 
of the same substances as tlie Sun and tlie Moon and the various 
tilings, and not of stone like the meteors. They emit a strong, 
light. The Five Planets: ― Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, and 
Saturn consist of the essence of the Five Elements : ― water, fire, 
wood, metal, and earth. Tlie fa(,t that the Five Planets are in 
Chinese named after tli(、 Five Elements: ― The Water Star (Mercury), 
the Fire Star (Mars), etc. must have led Woiiff Cli img to tlic belief 
that they are actually formed of these elements. The language 
must also be held responsible for another error into wliicli Wang 
Cliung lias fallen. He seems to believe that tlie stars and con- 
stellations arc really Avliat their riiiuese names express e. g" that 
tlie re are liundreds ol" officials and two famous charioteers in 

Wang Ch'nng's Philosophy, 


Heaven. avIio by emitting- their fluid, shape the fate of men, (p. 138) 
and tliat the 28 Solar Mansiotts are actually celestial postal stations 
(Chap. XIX). It is possible however that the intimations of Wang 
Hi' ling to this effect are not to be taken literally, and that he only 
makes use of tlie usual terminology without attaching to them the 
meaning whicli liis words would seem to imply. We are some- 
times at a loss to know, whether Wang Oitmg speaks his mind or 
not, for his 、、- oi'ds are often only rhetorical and dialectical devices 
to meet tlie objections of liis opponents. 

Wang CKung's ideas on Meteors and Shooting Stars are chiefly 
derived from some classical texts. He comes to tlie conclusion that 
sucli falling stars are not real stars, nor stones, but rain-like phe- 
nomena resembling the falling of stars (Chap. XX). 

Rain is not produced by Heaven, and, properly speaking, does 
not fall down from it. It is the moisture of earth, wliicli rises 
as mist and clouds, and then falls down again. The clouds and 
tlie fog condense, aud in summer become Rain and Dew, in winter 
Snow and Frost [eod.). There are some signs showing' tliat it is 
going to rain. Some insects become excited. Crickets and ants 
leave their abodes, and earth-worms come forth. The chords of 
guitars become loose, and chronic diseases more virulent. The fluid 
of rain has tliis effect (p. 109). 

The same holds good for Wind. Birds foresee a coming storm, 
and, when it is going to blow, become agitated. But Wang Ch'ung 
goes farther and adopts the extravagant view that wind lias a 
strange influence on perverted minds, such as robbers and thieves, 
prompting them to do their deeds, and that by its direction it in- 
fluences the market-prices. From its direction moreover, all sorts 
of calamities can be foreseen such as droughts, inundations, epidemics, 
and war (p. 111). There is a special science for it, still practised 
to-day by the Imperial Observatory at Peking. 

Heat and Cold correspond to fire and water, to the regions, 
and to the seasons. Near the fire it is hot, near the water, cool. 
The Yang fluid is the source of heat, the Yin fluid that of cold. 
The South is the seat of the Yang, the North of the Yin. In sum- 
mer the Yang fluid predominates, in winter the Yin. The tempe- 
rature can never be changed for man's sake, nor does Heaven ex- 
press its feelings by it. When it is cold , Heaven is not cool, nor 
is it genial and cheerful, when it is warm (Chap. XXI). 

Wlien the Yin and the Yang fluids come into collision, we 
liave Tlninder and Lightning (p. 126). The fire of the sun colliding 
、、- ith the water of tlie clouds causes an explosion, wliicli is the 

Lun-Heng. 3 


Liin - Heng : Introduction. 

thunder. Lightning is the shooting forth of the exploding air 
(Chap. XXII, XXIX). Wavg Ch'tmg alleges 5 arguments to prove that 
lightning must be fire (Cliap. XXII). He ridicules tlie idea tliat thunder 
is Heaven's angry voice, and tliat Avitli its thunderbolt it destroys 
the guilty. When lightuing strikes, lie says, it hits a tree, da- 
mages a house, and perhaps kills a man. But not unfrequently 
a thunder-clap is without effect, causing no damage, and destroying 
no human life. Does Heaven in such a case indulge in useless 
anger?" And why did it not strike a fiend like the Empress Lii 
Hou, but often kills sheep and other innocent animals? [eocL] Lu- 
cretkis asks the same question: ― 

" Quod si Jappiter atque alii fulgentia divi 

terrifico (juatiunt sonitii cselestia teinpla 

et jaciunt ignem quo qoiquest cum que voluptas, 

cur quibus incautum scelus aversabile cumquest 

non faciunt icti flammas ut fulgaris halent 

pectore perfixo, documen mortalibus acre, 

et potius nulla sibi turpi conscius in re 

volvitiir in tlammivS innoxius inqiie peditiir 

turbine cailesti subito correptus et igni ? 

cur etiain loca sola petunt frnstraque laborant?" 

{Liter. VI, 380-389). 

The poet states that tempests are brought about by the con- 
flict of the cold air of 、viiiter witli tlie hot air of summer. It is 
a battle of fire on the one, and of wind and moisture on the other 
side. Lightning is fire [eod. 355-375). Thunder is produced by 
the concussion of tlie clouds chased by tlie wind {eod. 94seq.). 

c) Ethics. 

In the Lun-he)fg, ethical problems take up but a small space. 
Probably Wang CKung has treated tliem more in detail in his lost 
work, the Chi-m-chieh-yi " Censures on Morals." In the Liui-heng 
they are toudird upon more incidentally. 

Men are all endowed with tlie same lieaveiily fluid, wliicli 
becomes tiieir vital force and their mind. There is no lundaniental 
fliirerence in tlieir organisation. But tlie quantity of tlie fluids 
varies, whence the (liHereiice of tlieir characters. " The fluid men 
are endowed with, says Wang Cliung^ is either copious or deficient, 
and their characters correspondingly good or bad " (Chaj). XXXI). 
Kpimrns explains tin* (liHW' ("化 e (^(" luunaii (characters l)y tlie clidereiit 
mixture ('{• tlic four substances coustitutiug the soul. 

Wang rii'iing's Pliilosophy. 35 

Tlio vital fluid embraces the Five Elcuncnts of Chinese natural 
pliilosopliy : Water, fire, wood, metal, and earth, wliicli form the 
l',ive Organs of the body : tlie heart, the liver, the stomach, the 
lungs, and the kidneys. These inner parts are the seats of tlie 
Five Virtues: 一 benevolence, justice, propriety, knowledge, and truth 
(p. 105). The Five Virtues are regarded as the elements of human 
character and intelligence. Thus the quantity of the original fluid 
lias a direct influence upon the character of the person. A small 
dose produces but a small lieart, a small liver, etc. and these 
organs being small tlie moral and mental qualities of tlie owner 
can be but small, insufficient, bad. The copiousness of the fluid 
has the opposite result. 

The Five Organs are the substrata of the " Five Virtues." 
Any injury of the former afiects tlie latter. When those organs 
become diseased, the intellect loses its brightness, and morality 
declines, and, when these substrata of the mind and its virtues 
are completely destroyed, by death, the mind ceases likewise (p, 195). 

Being virtually contained in the vital or lieavenly fluid, the 
Five Virtues must come ironi Heaven and be lieavenly virtues 
(Chap. XLIII). Heaven is unconscious and inactive, therefore it 
cannot practise virtue in a human way, but the results of the spon- 
taneous movement of tlie lieavenly fluid are in accordance with virtue. 
It would not be difficult to qualify tlie working- of nature as bene- 
voleiit, just, and proper, which has been clone by all religions, al- 
though unconscious benevolence and unconscious justice are queer 
notions, but liow about unconscious knowledge and unconscious 
truth, the last of the Five Virtues? Wang CKung finds a way out 
of this impasse : ― " The heart of high Heaven, he says, is in the 
bosom of the Sages," an idea expressed already in the Liki (Cf. 
Legge's transl. Vol. I, p. 382). Heaven feels and tliinlis with tlieir 
hearts (p. 128 seq.). Heaven has no heart of its own, but the lieart 
of the Sages as well as of men in general are its hearts, for they have 
been produced by the heavenly fluid. This fluid, originally a shapeless 
and difl'use mass, cannot think or feel by itself. To become con- 
scious it requires an organism. In so far it can be said that by- 
consul ting one's own lieart, one learns to know the will of Heaven, 
tliat " Heaven acts through man " and that " when it reprimands, 
it is (lone tlirougli the mouths of Sages " (eod.). 

Wang Ck ung does not enter upon a discussion on what the 
moral law really is, and why it is binding. He simply takes the 
Five Virtues in the acceptation given them by the Confucianists. 
But lie ventilates another question, wliicli lias been taken up by 



Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

almost all the moralists from Mencius downward, that of the orig- 
inal goodness or badness of liuman nature. Wang Ch'ung acquaints 
us with the different views on this subject. The two extremes 
are represented by Mencius, who advocates tlie original goodness, 
and by Hsiin Tse, who insists upon its badness. There are many 
compromises between these two contrasting theories. Wang Cli ung 
himself takes a middle course, declaring that human natural dis- 
position is sometimes good, and sometimes bad, just as some peo- 
ple are by nature very intelligent, while others are feeble-minded 
(Chap. XXXn). ' - 

Original nature may be changed by external influences. Good 
people may become bad, and bad ones may reform and turn good. 
Such results can be brought about by intercourse witli good or 
bad persons. With a view to reforming the wicked the State makes 
use of public instruction and criminal law (Chap. XXXI). Wang 
CJiung adopts tlie classification of ( hnfucins, who distinguishes average 
people and such above and below the average (Analects VI, 19). 
" The character of average people," he says, " is the work of liabit. 
Made familiar witli good, they turn out good, accustomed to evil, 
they become wicked. Only with extremely good, or extremely bad 
characters habit is of no avail." These are the people above and 
below the average. Their characters are so inveterate, that laws 
and instructions are powerless against them. They remain what, 
they are, good or bad (Chap. XXXII). 

The cultivation of virtue is better than the adoration of spirits, 
who cannot help us (Chap. XLIV). Yet it would be a mistake to be- 
lieve that virtue procures happiness. Felicity and misfortune depend 
on fate and chance, and cannot be attracted by virtue or crime 
(Chap. XXXVIII). On the whole Wang CK ung does not think mucli 
of virtue and wisdom at all. He has amalgamated the Confucian 
Ethics with his system as far as possible, but tlie Taoist ideas 
suit him much better and break through here and there. The 
Taoists urge that virtue and wisdom are a decline from man's orig- 
inal goodness. Originally people lived in a state of quietude and 
happy ignorance. " Virtuous actions were out of the ([uestion, and 
the people were dull and beclouded. Knowledge and wisdom did 
not yet irmke their appearance " (p. 100). They followed their 
natural I't'opensities, a (; ted sp'mtatieously, and were happy. Sucli 
was the conduct of t he model emjxu'ors of antiquity, Ihiang Ti, Yao. 
and S/mii. They lived in a state of" (juietiule and indifference, did 
not work, and tlie empire was governed by itself (p. 98). They 
merely imitated Heaven, who's principle is spontaneity and in- 

Wang Ch'ung's Philosophy. 


action. Now-a-clays this liigli standard can uuly be attained by 
the wisest and best men. "A mau with tlie highest, purest, and 
fullest virtue has been endowed with a large quantity of the 
heavenly fluid, therefore he can follow the example of Heaven, 
and be spontaneous and inactive like it " [loc. cit.). He need not 
trouble about virtue, or act ou purpose, for he is naturally vir- 
tuous, and all his spontaneous deeds are excellent. The majority 
of people, however, cannot reach this height. Having received 
but a small quota of the heavenly fluid, they cannot follow its 
example, and become active. They practise the routine virtues, 
which for tlie superior man, who naturally agrees with tiiem, are 
of little importance. 

d) Critique. 

Wang CJiung not only criticises tlie common ideas, superstitions, 
and more or less scientific theories current at his time, but lie also 
gives his- judgment upon the principal scholars, whose tenets lie 
either adopts or controverts, and it is not without interest to learu, 
liow he values well known philosophers and historians. 

a) PhUosopJiers. 

Of all philosophers by far the most frequently cited is Con- 
fucius. Ill Wang Cliung's estimation he is the Sage of China. He 
calls him the " Nestor in wisdom and virtue, and the most eminent 
of all philosophers " (Chap. XXXII). Wang Cli ung seems to believe 
that he has won Lis cause, whenever he can quote Confucius as his 
authority, and that with a dictum of the Sage lie can confound 
all his adversaries. In quoting Confucius he uses great liberty, in- 
terpreting' his utterances so as to tally with his own views. But 
this veneration does not prevent him from criticising even Confucius. 
He thinks it uecessaiy to vindicate himself from the charge of 
impiety and immorality, intimating that even Sages" and Worthies 
are not infallible and may err sometimes (Chap. XXXIII). tJe might 
Imve done anything else, but this offence the Literati will never con- 
done. His attacks on Confucius are very harmless and not even very 
clever. He does uot impugn the Confucian system, which on the 
contrary he upholds, though he departs from it much farther than 
he himself knows. His method consists in hunting up contra- 
dictions and repugnancies in the Analects. He uot seldom con- 
structs a contradiction, where there is none at all, by putting much 
more into the words of Confucius than they contain. He forgets 



Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

tliat in freely talking with friends or pupils ― and the Analects 
are nothing else than such conversations ― one does not weigh 
every word. Besides the peculiar ci rcurastances and the form of 
inind of the speaker must be taken into consideration, which Wauy 
CKung often neglects. In short, the essay on Confucius is in no 
way a mnster-piece of criticism and not worth the fuss made about it. 

Mencius, the second Sage, is also very often mentioued. Wa/iy 
CK ung holds liim in high esteem, but treats his work iu tlie same 
way as tlie Analects. Tlie objections raised keep more or less on 
the surface, and do not affect the substance of his doctrine. 

Tlie liig'liest praise*, is bestowed on Yang Hdimg, another famous 
Confuciauist of the Han epocli. Wang CJiting compares the historian 
Sse Ma C/i leu with the Yellow River and Yang Hsmng with the Hau 
(Chap. XXXVII). He rose like a star (p. 81), and his chief work, 
the T ai-hsilan-ching was a creation (p. 88). 

Like Fhiai Nan Tse、 Wang Clixmg very often mentions Me Ti 
conjointly with Confucius as the two great Sages of antiquity. At 
that time the fame of Confucius had not yet eclipsed tlie philosopher 
of mutual love. Though appreciating him, Wang CKung rejects J lis 
system as unpractical, maintaining that its many contradictions 
have prevented its spreading (Chap. XXXVIl). The Meliists believe 
in ghosts and spirits and adore tliem, imploring their help. At the 
same time they neglect the funerals and the dead, and they deny 
the existence t)f fate. 

When Lao Tse is referred to, lie is usually introduced to- 
gether with Huang Ti、 who like Lao Tse is looked upon as the 
lather of Taoism. They are both called truly wise (p. 98). Tl"、 
Taoist school established the principle of spontanei ty and inaction. 
Tlie philosophy of Wang Cliung is to a great extent based ou their 
doctrines without, however, becoming Taoistic, for he leaves out 
tlie quintessence of their system, Tao, nor will lie have anything 
of their transcendentalism, mysticism or other extravagancies. 

Wang Ch ung is well acquainted with the Taoist writer I luui 
Nan Tse, from whose work lie jfi'(、ely culls, ofteuer tliau he men- 
tions 】iim. lie refutes the legend tliat llnai N(m Tse by his alclii- 
inistical studies obtained immortality, and with liis 'entire house- 
hold, including' his dogs and poultry asccMidiul to lloavea, sub- 
mitting that he (Mtlicr was beheaded I'or some political intrigues 
or coinmitted suicide (diap. XXVIU). 

Against //〃〃 Fei 7\y% vvlio wrote on \\w theory of govorntnent 
and legislation, and whose writings arc strongly tainted with 
Tauisin, W niKj ( 7, any bhows a 丄) rmim 川 ('"(1 antipathy. He most 

Wang Ch'uug's Philosophy. 


vehemently attacks him lor having declared the scholars and lite- 
rati to be useless grubs in the State. Han Fei Tse was of opinion 
that rewards and punisliineQts were sufficient to keep up order, 
Wang CK ung objects that in his system virtue has uo place, llan 
Fei Tse despises diviuation, wliicli Wang Ch ung defends. Han Fei 
Tse was much appreciated by tlie Emperor Ch in Shi It Ilaang 77, a 
great admirer of liis works, which, however, did not liiuder the 
tyrant from condemning him to death for some political reason. 

It is passing strange that the great Taoist philosophers lAeh 
Tse and CIt uang Tse are not once named. Were tliey so little read 
at Wang C/i ung's time, that lie did not know them? Some of his 
stories are told in Lieh Tse likewise with nearly the same Avords, 
but it docs not follow, that they must be quoted from Lieh Tse, 
for sucli narrations are often found in several authors, cue copying 
Iroin the other without acknowledging his source. 

A scholar, of whom Wang Cli ung speaks very often is Tung 
Chung Sim, a very prolific writer of the 2nd cent. b.c. He was said 
by many to have completed the doctrine of Confucius, while others 
held that lie had perverted it. Wang Ch ung thinks tliat both views 
are wroug (Cliap. XXXVIl). Tung Chung Situ devoted his labours to 
the C!i"m-ch iu, but lie also wrote on the magical arts (p. 84) and 
on Taoism. Wang Ch ung says tliat liis arguments on Taoist doc- 
triues are very queer, but that Lis ideas on morals aud on go- 
vernment are excellent. In human nature Tung Chung Shu dis- 
tinguishes between natural disposition and feeling. The former, 
he says, is the outcome of the Yang principle and therefore good, the 
feelings are produced by the Yhi and are therefore bad (Cliap. XXXII). 
Tung Chung Shu seems to have been the inventor of a special 
rain-sacrifice. The figure oT a dragou was put up to attract the 
rain, Wang C It ung stands up for it with, great fervour aud attempts 
to prove its efficacy (p. 55, N. 47). 

01' Tsau Yen many miracles were already related at Wang 
CI I luig's time. He rejects them as fictions. Tsou Yens writings 
were brilliant, he says, but too vague and dilluse (Chap. X XXVII). 
With his above mentioned theory of the ^ine Continents Wang 
CI t ung does not agree. 

The sophist Kiing Sun Lung as well as Kuan Tse aud Shang 
Vang, who both have philosophised on the State, are rather se- 
verely dealt with (Chap. XXXVII). On the other hand Wang CK ung 
is very lavish in liis praise of the writers of the Han time viz. Liu 
Ihlung, Lu Chia, author of the Hsin-yil, a work on government, Haan 
(- hiin Shan, author of the Hsin4un^ and Huan K uan, who 'wrote the 


Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

Yen-t' ieli-hm, a work on finance and other State questions. Besides 
Wang CK ung gives the names of a number of his contemporaries 
to Avhoui lie predicts immortality, but he lias been a bad prophet, 
for save one they are all forgotten now. 

/3) Historians. 

It was a great controversy during the Han epoch, which 
commentary to the C/itm-c/iiu was the best. The Iso-chuau had 
not yet secured the position, it holds now; many scholars gave 
the preference to the works of Kung Yang or Ku Liang. Wang 
CKung avers that Tso CIt iu Mings Tso-chuau surpasses all tlie others, 
and that having lived nearer to Coitfucius time than the other 
commentators, Tso Cli ia Ming has had more facilities to ascertain 
the views of the Sage and to give them in their purest form. 
Wang C It ung coniirins that the Kuo - yii is also the work of T^o 
cli iu Ming (Chap. XXXVil). Many of Wang CI"mg,s stories and 
myths are taken from the Tso-chuan. 

Of the Lil-shih-cli un-ch ' iu of Ji Pa We% an important work 
for antique lore, Wang CK ung says that it contains too much of 
the marvellous. 

To illustrate his theories Wang CK ung often lays the l^hi-chi 
under contribution. Of its author, &'e Ma Cltien^ lie speaks with 
great deference, and regards him as the greatest writer of the llau 
period. What lie reproaches him with, is that ! ise' Ma CItien too 
often leaves us in the dark as to his own opinion on a cj[uestion, 
stating only the bare facts, or giving two different versions of the 
same event without deciding, which is the correct one {loc. cit.). 

Pan Ku, Wang Cliungs contemporary aud the son of his 
teacher Van Piao, is lauded for liis good verses and memorials 
[loc. cit.). He is the one contemporary of our philosopher, who 
really has become immortal by his great work, tlie Uau-shu. At 
Wang CIt ung s time it had not yet appeared, and so is never re- 
ferred to. it was completed and published after Pau Kiis death 
by his sister Fan Cliao. 

That he possesses some abilities in the Held of literary and 
historical critique himself, Wang CIt any show s in his remarks on 
the origin and Jiistoiy of the Classics. He tells us, liow they \\ ere 
composed, how discovered after tlic Burning of the Books, liow 
handed dowji, and how divided into books and cliapters (Cliap. 
XXXVl). in spite of his profound veneration lor the classical 
literature he does not hesitate to censure those passages, Avliicli do 
not find liis approval, or to expose tJic exaggerations and fabler 

Wang Ch mill's Philosophy. 


with wliicli they teem (p. 51, N. 27). In like manner he is in- 
de la ti gable iu detecting Taoist liotious and iuventions and in re- 
ducing them to their true measure, lor it does not satisfy him to 
deinoustrate their impossibility; he desires to find out, how they 
originated (p. 50, N. 24). He combats the legends which have 
found their way into the historical literature, although they are 
loss frequent tliau in tlie Taoist works (p. 50, N. 25-26). The 
entire Lun-lieng is a big battle agains these errors. His discussions 
would seem sometimes a little lengthy, and the subject not to require 
such an amount of arguments, for we would prove the same with 
a few words, or not discuss it at all, the proposition being for us 
self-evident. We must liowever bear in mind, that what for us 
uow is self-evident and iudisputable, was not so for the Chinese, 
I'or whom Wang Ch ung wrote his book, and tliat to shake them iu 
their deep-seated persuasions a huge apparatus of logic M as ne- 
cessary. Eveu tlieu probably the majority held fast to their pre- 
conceptions. The triumphant march of logic is checked, as soon 
as sentiment and prejudice comes in. 

Historically Wang Ch ung takes another point of view than 
his contemporaries, who for the most part took little interest iu 
rlifir owu time, and let their I'aucies wander back to the golden 
age of remote antiquity. Wang C'/i ung is more modern than most 
Cliiuese ol" the proseut day. He was of opinion that the llau dy- 
uasty was as good, even better thau the famous old dynasties 
(p. 56, N. 56). Five essays bear upon this thesis. His reasoning 
is very lame liowever, for instead of speaking of the government, 
he ouly treats of the auspicious portents proving the excellence of 
the ruling sovereigns. 

e) Religion and Folklore. 

The religion of tlie Cliiuese at the Han time was a cult ol" 
nature combined with aucestor worship. They regarded certain 
parts of nature and certain uatural phenomena as spirits or as 
animated by spirits, and tried to propitiate them and the ghosts 
of their ancestors by prayers and sacritices. Convinced "that these 
spirits and ghosts could belp them, or do tliein harm, as they 
chose, they contrived to wiu their good graces, praying for luippi- 
ness, imploring them to avert evil, and showing their gratitude tor 
received beuetits by their ollerings, 

丄'1"' chief deities worshipped during the C/iou period wei'e: ― 


Lun - Heng : Introduction, 

Heaven and its parts : ― the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars. Among 
the latter the Fice Planets take the first place, but the 28 Solar 
Mansions and other constellations, such as the Dipper and the Stars 
of Longevity were likewise adored. 

Earth and its parts, Mountains and Rivers, tlie Soil, and tlir 
Grain growing on it, and some of its phenomena: ~ -Earth-quak'e、、 
Water (luuudations), and Droughts. 

Meteorological phenomena: ― Wind and Raiu, Heat and Cold, 
Thunder and Ligldning. 

The Four Seasons and the Four Quarters. 

The Five Parts of the House: ―- The Gate, the Dooi\ the Wall^ 
the Hear til, aud the Court, 

Deified Heaven was often looked upon as an emperor, the Em- 
peror on Higli or the Supreme Ruler, aud so were the Planets, 
called the Blue, Red, Yellow, White, and Black Emperors. The 
other stars and constellations were tlieir officials. All these deities 
have, as a rule, no distinct personality, and still quite clearly show 
the traces of tlieir origin. The "Prince of the Wind," the "Master 
of Rain," the Thunderer," tlie "Door God/' and the " Spirit of 
the Hearth" or "Kitchen God" were perhaps more than the 
others apprehended as personal gods. 

The Spirits of tlie Soil and Grain were at the outset probably 
not different from the other spirits animating nature, but according 
to very old traditions two persons : ― Kou Lung and Clii have after 
their deaths been deified and raised to the rank of tutelary genii 
of the land and grain. These apotheoses of men after tlieir death 
became more frequent in later ages. Under the CK in dynasty 
67/ ih Yu, a legendary personage renowncled for his military exploits, 
was worshipped as War God, The three sons of the mythical 
(*inperor Chuan I Ls'd after their death became Water Spirits and Spirits 
iff KpidenUcs, and a woman, who had died in cliihlbcd, and whosi^ 
ghost liad a[)j>(、aml to somebody after her decease, was made 
Princess of JJemom under the llan dynasty. 

Here we liave ancestral worship. Every family used to revere 
llie ; ghosts of its deceased ancestors, but only iu such exceptional 
cases as those quoted above did these ghosts later on becmi 化 
national gods. 

Tlie cull of t lu» aibrc-nieutioiuHl deities was ontium^d during 
t lir llau, ('j)och, and witli some few alterations has gone ou up to 
the present day. It is the State religion of CJiiiia, sanctioned by 
(iov(M'nineiit, niid practised by the Son of Heaven and his highest 
oi'licials. Biiddiusni and Taoism are only tolerated. Conracianisiii 

Wang Ch ung s Philosophy. 


is uo religion, but the official moral system, \\ liicli completely 
agrees with the cult of" nature. 

The sacrifices to tlie spirits of nature were in ancient times 
performed by the Emperor, the Feudal Princes, aud the officials, 
acting as high-priests for their people. TJie people used to sacri- 
fice only to their own ancestors and to the Spirits of the Door or 
tlie Hearth. The oblations were burnt-offerings of animals and 
libations of wiue. There was no clergy to mediate between the 
gods and the people. These rules were less strictly observed 
during the Han epoch, when occasionally priests sacrificed in the 
place of the Emperor, and even priestesses were allowed to make 
oUeriugs in their temples, lii out-of-the-way places, where uo 
officials were near, the people could themselves worship the gods, 
whose service else was incumbent upon tlie magistrates (cf. Chap. XLI, 
XLII and Shi-chi cliap. 27-28). 

W ang C'h ung asserts that most of these sacrifices are super- 
fluous, because the deities thus liouoiired are merely parts of others, 
to which offerings are made likewise. The Sun, the Moon, aud the 
Stars are parts of Heaveu. Tliey must participate in the oblations 
offered to Heaveu, why then give tliem special sacrifices to boot? 
With Mountains and Rivers, the Soil and Grain, which are tlie 
constituent parts —of Earth, it is the same. Would any reasonable 
person, irrespective of liis usual meals, specially feed liis limbs ? 
(Chap. XLI.) 

Moreover, spirits and ghosts cannot enjoy the sacrifices, for 
there are uoue, at least not personal beings, as people seem to 
imagine (Chap. XLIV). If they were air, they could not eat nor smell, 
and if they had a body, it would be so enormous, that men could 
lU'ver satisfy their appetite. I— low' should tliey feed tlie Earth or even 
a. Mountain or a Kiver? [cod. and Chap. XLI.) Being formed of tlie 
shapeless fluid, ghosts and spirits can neither feel nor act, consecj^ueutly 
they cannot do anything for man nor against him. I' 二 rgo by sacrifices 
he does not obtain his end, divine protection (Chap. XLU). There- 
lore sacrifices can be nothing more than symbolical acts, showing 
the gratitude and the affection of the sacrificer. He is thankful 
ior all the kindness lie lias received from Heaven and Earth, and 
from his parents and forefathers {eocL). Sacrifices are manifestations 
oi the piety 'of him, who oilers them, but their omission canuot 
liave any evil coiisequeuce. 

Kvo'-ckm is the correlate of" prayers and sacrifices. The an- 
cient Chinese used to practise it i)jirticulai'ly with the Spirit oi^ 
iSickne", wlioni they expelled. W'auy C It ung thinks it as useless as 


Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

sacrifices, for, says lie, provided the spirits are mist and vapours, 
they cannot do any harm, should tliey really exist, however, tliea 
they would indubitably not allow themselves to be driven oil". 
They would not only offer resistance, but also resent the affront, 
and take their revenge upon the exorcist (Cliap. XLIV). 

Primitive Chinese religion has not produced a mythology 
worth speaking of, but a variety of superstitions have clustered 
around it. Some of them Wang CIi ung brings to our notice. The 
principle aim of Chinese religion is to obtain happiness and to 
remove evil. But is does not suffice to worship the spirits, one 
must also avoid sucli actions, as might bring down misfortune. In 
the popular belief there is a certain mystic connection, a sort of 
harmony between fate and liuuiau activity, though one does not 
see liow. When the Yam en officials are very bad, the number of 
tigers increases so much, that plenty of people are devoured by 
tliem. The rapacity of the underlings is believed to cause grubs 
and insects to eat grain (p. 55, N. 48-49). It is dangerous to ex- 
tend a building to the west, one must not see women who recently 
have given birth to a child, and children born in the first or the 
fifth months should not be brouglit up, for they will be the cause 
their parents death (p. 59, N. 68). Exceptional precautions must 
be taken in building a new house (p. 60, N. 74). 

For most actions in every-day-life the time chosen is of the 
utmost importance. An unlucky time spoils everything. The Cliiuese 
at the llan epoch had uot only their dies fasti and nefasti, but pro- 
pitious aud unpropitious years, mouths, days, and hours. Special 
books gave the necessary iuformation. For some actions certain 
lucky days had to be chosen, for others certain unlucky ones liad 
to be avoided. Special days were assigned lor the commencing of 
a new-building or for funerals. Bathing on certain days, women, 
were sure to become lovely, on others they would become ill- 
favoured. Moving one's residence one should avoid a collision 
with the Spirit of the North, T'ai Sui (p. 59, N. 70, 72, 73). People 
neglecting these rules would fall in with malignant spirits, or meet 
witli evil influences. These ideas liave come down to our time, and 
arc .still cherished by the majority of the Chinese. The calendar 
publislietl every year by the Board of Astronomy serves them as 
a guide, noting that wJiicli may be sal'ely done on eacli day, and 
I hat wlii':li J 11 ay not. Wang Cli uiig has done his best to eradicate 
these superstitions, showing tlieir unreasonableness and futility, as 
we see witli little success, so deeply are they still rooted in the 
Chinese mind after nearly two thousand years. 


4. Table of Contents of the Lun-heng. 
Book L 

1. Chap. I. Fmg-yil 逢週. 

This chapter treats of the relation between officers and their 
sovereign. To be appreciated and snocessfiil an official must find 
tlie rioht prince, who understands him and puts him in the right 
place. One must not make the successful responsible for their 
success, or the unsuccessful for their failure, because not their talents, 
but time and circumstances are decisive. 

2. Chap. n. Lei-hni 累 害. 

The difficulties and annoyances Avhich people have to endure 
come from abroad, and are not the result of their own works. There- 
fore they must not be blamed. Fear and good conduct have no 
influence on fortune or misfortune. " Fortune is what 、ve obtain 
without any effort of our owu, and misfortune what happens to 
us without our co-operation." The chief annoyaucjes of officials at 
tlie court and in tlie provinces are slanderous reports of envious 
persons. Three kinds of calumnies are distinguislied. The wise 
do not feel troubled about this, and lead the life wliicli most 
suits them. 

*3. Chap. III. Ming-lu 命祿 (On Dest inv and Fortune). 

Destiny predetermines the length of man's life, and whether 
he shall be rich and honourable, or poor and mean. There is no 
correspondence between human virtue and fate. The wicked and 
the unintelligent are very often happy, whereas men endowed with 
the liigliest faculties and the noblest character perish in misery, 
as is shown by various examples from history. The knowing, 
therefore, do not hunt after happiness, but leave everything to 
Heaven, suffering with equanimity what caunot be avoided, and 
placidly awaiting their turn. The opinions of several philosophers 
holding similar views are given. 

*4. Chap. IV. Ch'i-shou 氣壽. (Long Life and Vital Fluid). 

There are two kinds of fate, the cue determining the events 
of life, the other its length. The length of life depends on the 

^ofe: ― The chapters marked with an asterisk have been translated. 


Luii-Hrng: Inf rodtiction. 

quantity of the vital fluid received at birth. Accordingly the body 
waxes strong- or weak, and a strong body lives longer than a 
feeble one. The normal length of human life should be a hundred 
years. The Classics attest that the wise emperors of the Golden 
Age: ― Yao, S/nm, Wen Wang, Wu Wanff, and others all lived over 
hundred years. 

Book II. 

*5. Chap. I. Hsing-ou 幸偶 (On Chance and Luck). 

Happiness and misfortune are not the outcome of man's good 
or bad actions, but chance and luck. Some have good luck, others 
bad. Good and bad fortune are not distributed in a just way, 
according to worth, but are mere chance. This is true of man 
as well as of other beings. Even Sages are often visited with 

*6. Chap. II. Ming-yi 命義 (What is meant by Destiny?). 

The school of Me Ti denies the existence of Destiny. Wang 
Ch ung follows the authority of Confucius. There are various kinds 
of destinies. The length of human life is regulated by tlie fluid 
of Heaven, their wealth and honour by the effluence of the stars, 
with wliicli men are imbued at their birth. Wang CK ung rejects 
the distinction of natural, concomitant, and adverse fate, but admits 
contingencies, chances, and incidents, which may either agree witli 
the original fate and luck, or not. The fate of a State is always 
stronger than that of individuals. 

*7. Clmp. III. Wu-Jtsing 無形 (Unfounded Assertions). 

At birth man receives the vital fluid from Heaven. This 
fluid determines the length of his life. There are lio means to 
prolong its duration, as tlio Taoists pretend. Some examples from 
history are shown to be untriistwoi-tliy. At dealli everything ends. 
The vital force disperses, and the body is dissolved, 

*8. Clifip. IV. Shuai-hsing 率' |' 生 (Th(、 Forming of Cliaracters). 

Tl"、r(' ;m、 naturally good, and tlim' ;> re naturally bad char- 
acters, l)ut tins (lillcrence l>"t、v(vii llie ({u;iliti(\s low and superior 
men i« not fundamental. Tlie original fluid permeating all is the 
same. It contains (he germs of (he Five Virtues. Those who are 

Table of Contents of the Luii -hcng. 


endowed Avitli copious fluids, become vrituous, those whose fluid 
is deficient. Avicked. But by external influences, human nature (.'an 
turn from good into bad, and the reverse. Bad people can be im- 
proved, and become good by instruction and good example. There- 
fore the State cannot dispense with instructions and laws. 

*9. Cliap. V. Chi-yen 吉驗 (Auspicious Portents). 

Auspicious portents appear, when somebody is destined to 
something' grand by fate, especially, when a new dynasty rises. 
These manifestations of fate appear either in tlie person's body, 
or as lucky signs in nature, or under tlie form of a halo or a 
glare. A great variety of instances from ancient times clown to 
tlie Han dynasty are adduced in proof. 

Book HI. 
10. Chap. 1. Ou-hui 偶會. 

Fate acts spontaneously. There are no other alien forces at 
work besides fate. Nobody is able to do anything against it. 
Human activity is of no consequence. 

*11. Chap. II. Ku-hsiang 骨相 (On Aiithroposcopy). 

The heavenly fate becomes visible in the body, and can be 
foreseen by antliro])oscopY. The Classics contain examples. The 
physiognomists draw their conclusions from the osseous structure 
and from the lines of the skin. The character can also be seen 
from the features. 

*12, Chap. III. CfCu-plng '初裏 (Heaven's Orii>-innl Gift). 

Destiny comes down upon man already in his embryonic state, 
not later on during liis life. It becomes mind internally and body 
externally. This law governs all organisms. Heaven never invests 
virtuous emperors, because it is pleased witli tliein. for this would 
be in opposition to its principle of spontaneity and inaction. Utter- 
ances of the Classics that Heaven was pleased and looked round, 
«'tc. are to be taken in a figurative sense. Heaven lias no human 
body and no liuinau qualities. Lucky omens are not sent by Heaven, 
but appear by chance. 


Lun - Hong : Introduction. 

* IB. Chap. TV. Pen-hsing 本性 (On Original Nature). 

The different theories of Chinese moralists on human nature 
are discussed. Sliih Tse holds that human nature is partly good, 
partly l)a,d, Mencius that it is originally good, but can be corru !、 te(l, 
Sun Tse that it is originally bad, Kao Tse tliat it is neither good 
nor bad, and that it all depends on instruction and development, 
Lu Chia that it is predisposed for virtue. Tung Chung Sim and 
Liu Hsiang distinguish between natural disposition and natural feel- 
ings. Wang C/iung holds th'at nature is sometimes good and some- 
times bad, but essentially alike, being the fluid of Heaven, and 
adopts the Confucian distinction of average people, people above, 
and people below the average. The latter alone can be changed 
by habit. 

*14. Chap. V. Wu-'shih 物勢 (The Nature of Things). 

Heaven and Earth do not create man and the other things 
on earth intentionally. They all g'row of themselves. Had Heaven 
produced all creatures on purpose, it would have taught them 
mutual love, whereas now one. destroys the other. Some have ex- 
plained this struggle for existence by the hypothesis that all creatures 
are filled with the fluid of the Five Elements, Avlii (; li figlit together 
and overcome one another. Wang Cliung controverts this view and 
the symbolism connected therewith. 

*15. Chap. VI. Chi-kmi 竒' | 圣 (Miracles). 
Wang Cliung proves by analogies that tlie supernatural births 
reported of several old legendary rulers, who are said to 】iave been 
procreated by dragons or a special fluid of Heaven, are impossible. 
The Spirit of Heaven would not consort with a Avoman, for only 
beings of the same species pair. Saints and Sages are born like 
other people from their parents. 

Book IV. 

IG. Chap. T. Shu-hsu 書虛. 
Tlie cliajjter coiitaius a I'H'utaHon of a scries of wronc; state- 
iiiciits ill aiKMeiit books. Tlic asscriion i liat Slum and Yn ditnl in the 
South is shown to be erroneous. Wang Ch'nng explodes tlie idea 
that the " Bore ', at IJang-cJiou is caused by tlie angry spirit of 
Wu Tse Urn, wlio was thrown into the Cli ien-t' ang River, and re- 
marks that the tide follows the j) liases of the moon. (Bk. IV, p. 5v.) 

Table of Contents of the Lun -heng. 


17. Chap. n. Pien-hsii 響虛. 
Wang CKung points out that many reports in ancient literature 
concerning extraordinary phenomena, not in harmony with the laws 
of nature, are fictitious and unreliable, e. g. the story that touched 
bv the virtue of Duke Ching of Sung, the planet Mars si lifted its 
place, that Heaven rewarded the Duke with 21 extra years, or that 
the great Diviner of Clii caused an earthquake. 

Book V. 

18. Chap. 1. Yi-hsii 異虛. 
The impossibility of some miracles and supernatural events 
is demonstrated, which have been handed down in ancient works, 
and are universally believed by the people and the. literati, e. g. the 
birth of Pao Sse from the saliva of dragons. 

19. Chap. II. Kan-hsii 感虛. 

Wang Ch ung contests that nature can be moved by man and 
deviate from its course. Various old legends are critically tested : 一 
the alleged appearence of ten suns in Yao's time, tlie report that 
the sun went back in his course, the wonders which happened 
during the captivity of Tsou Yen and Tan, Prince of Yen. 

The tenor of the last four chapters all treating- of unfounded 
assertions or figments " hsu " is very similar. 

Book VI. 

''20. Chap. I. Fu-hsii jjfgjj (Wrong Notions about Happiness). 

Happiness is not given by Heaven as a reward for good actions, 
as tlie general belie£ is. The Mehist theory that the spirits pro- 
tect and help the virtuous is controverted by facts. Wang CKung 
shows liow several cases, adduced as instances of how Heaven re- 
compensed the virtuous are illusive, and that fate is capricious 
and unjust. 

*21. Chap. II. Huo-hsil f^jj (Wrong Notions on Unhappiness). 

The common belief that Heaven and Earth and the spirits 
punish the wicked and visit them with misfortune, is erroneous, 
as shown by examples of virtuous men, who were unlucky, and 
of wicked, who flourished. All this is tlie result of chance and 
luck, fate and time. 

Lun -Heng. 4 


Lun - Hcng : Introduction. 

*22. Chap. III. Lung-hsil 龍虛 (On Dragons). 

The dragon is not a spirit, but has a body and lives in pools. 
It is not fetched by Heaven during a thunderstorm, as people believe. 
The different views about its shape are given : ― It is represented 
as a snake with a horse's head, as a flying creature, as a reptile 
that can be mounted, and like earthworms and ants. In ancient 
times dragons were reared and eaten. The dragon rides on the 
clouds during tlie tempest, there being a certain sympathy between 
the dragon and clouds. It can expand and contract its body, and 
make itself invisible. 

*23. Chap. IV. Lei-hsil 雷虛 (On Thunder and Lightning). 

Thunder is not the expression of Heaven's anger. As a spirit 
it could not give a sound, nor could it kill a man with its 
breath. It does not laugli either. Very often tlie innocent are 
struck by lightning, and monsters like the Empress Lil Hon, are 
spared. The pictorial representations of thunder as united drums, 
or as the tlmnderer Lei Kung, are misleading;. Thunder is fire or 
hot air, the solar tluid Yang exploding in its conflict with tlie Yin 
fluid, lightning being tlie shooting forth of the air. Five arguments 
are given, why thunder must be fire. 

Book VII. 

*24. Chap. 1. Tao-hsii 道虛 (Taoist Untruths). 

Man dies and can become immortal. The Taoist stories of 
Huang Ti and Huai Nan Tse's ascension to heaven, of the flying 
genius met by Lu Ao, and of Hsiang Man Tse's travel to the moon 
are inventions. The magicians do not possess the powers ascribed 
to them. The Taoist theory of prolonging life by quietism and 
dispassionateness, by regulating one's breath, and using medicines 
is untenable. 

*25. Chap. II. Yu-tsmg 語墙 (Exaggerations). 

Wang Ch rnig points out a number of historical exaggerations 
e. g, tliat the embonpoint of L'hieh and L'kou was over a foot, tliat 
(''hou had a wine-lake, from which 3,000 persons sucked like cattle, 
tliat Wen Wang could drink 3,000 bumpers of wine, and Confucius 
100 gallons, and some mis-statements concerning the simplicity oi' 
Yao and Shun, and the cruelty of i^hih Huang Ti, and tries to reduce 
them to the proper limits. 

Table of Contents of the Lun -heng. 


Book VIE. 

*26. Chap. I. Ju-tseng (Exaggerations of the Literati). 

Wang Clixmg goes on to criticise some old traditions : ― on the 
abolition of punishments under Yao and Shun, on the wonderful 
shooting- of Yang Yii VI li aud Hsiung Ch'ii Tse、 on the skill of Lu Pan, 
ou LI dug K o's attempt upon S/dh Huang Tis life, on the miracles 
conn£Cted with the Nine Tripods of the CJiou dynasty, etc. 

27. Chap. 11. Yi-tseng 藝增. 

People are fond of the marvellous and of exaggerations, in 
witness whereof passages are quoted from the SkuJdng, the Shiking, 
tlie Yiking, the Lun-yil, and the CK un-cK iu. 

Book IX. 

*28. Chap. 1. Wen K'ung 問孔 (Criticisms on Confucius). 

The Confucianists do not dare to criticise the Sages, although 
the words of the Sages are not always true and often contra- 
dictory. It is also, because they do not understand the difficult 
passages, and only repeat what the commentators have said. Wang 
Chung vindicates the right to criticise even Confucius. Such crit- 
icisms are neither immoral nor irrational. Tliey lielp to bring out 
the meaning, and lead to greater clearness. Wcmg CKung then takes 
up a number of passages from the Analects for discussion, in which 
he discovers contradictions or other flaws, but does not criticise 
the system of Confucius or his theories in general. 

Book X. 

*29. Chap. I. Fei Han 非韓 (Strictures on Han Ffi Tse). 

Han Fei Tse solely relies on rewards and punishments to govern 
a State. In his system there is no room for the cultivation of 
virtue. He despises the literati as useless, and thinks the world 
to be so depraved and mean, that nothing but penal law can keep 
it in check. Wang Ch: ung shows by some examples taken from Han 
Fei Tse' s work that this theory is wrong. Men of letters are as 
useful to the State as agriculturists, warriors, and officials, for they 
cultivate virtue, preserve the true principles, and benefit the State 
by the good example tliey set to the other classes. 


52 ' Lun-Heng: Introduction. 

*30. Chap. II. T'se Meng 刺孟 (Censures on Mencius). 

Wang CKung singles out such utterances of Mencius, in which 
according to his view his reasoning is defective, or wliicli are con- 
flicting with other dicta of the philosopher. 

Book XI. 

*31. Chap. 1. Tan-fien 談天 (On Heaven). ' 
The old legend of the collapse of Heaven, which was repaired 
by Nil Wa, when Kung Kung had knocked witli his liead against 
the " Pillar of Heaven," is controverted, as is Tsou Yens theory 
of the existence of Nine Continents. Heaven is not merely air, 
but has a body, and tlie earth is a square measuring 100,000 Li 
in either direction. 

*32. Chap. II. Shuo-jih 說 B (On the Sun). 
A variety of astronomical questions are touched. Waiu) Cli ung 
opposes the view that the sun disappeares in darkness during tlie 
night, that the length or shortness of the days is caused by the 
Yin and the Yang, that the sun rises from Fu-sang and sets in 
Hsi-liu, that at Yao's time ten suns appeared, that there is a raven 
in the sun, and a hare and a toad in the moon. Heaven is not 
high in the south and depressed in tlie nortli, nor like a reclining 
umbrella, nor does it enter into or revolve in the earth. Heaven 
is level like earth, and the world lying in the south-east. Tlie sun 
at noon is nearer than in the morning or in the evening. Wang 
Ch'ung further speaks on tlie rotation of the sky, the sun, and the 
moon, on the substance of the sun and tlie moon, on their shape, 
the cause of the eclipses, meteors, and meteorological phenomena. 

3H. Chap. III. Ta-ning 答侯. 
On the cunning and artful. 

Book XII. 
34. Chap. I. Ch'eng-t'sai 程材. 

The (lifTercnce between scholars and officials is pointed out. 
Wang (7i un<j stands up for the Ibrmer, and places tliem higher than 
the officials, because they arc of greater importance to tlie State. 
The people however think more of the officials. 

Table of Contents of the Lun-heng. 


35. Chap. II. Liang-chih 量知. 

The same subject as treated in the preceding chapter. 

36. Chap. m. Hsieh-tuan 謝短. 

Men of letters as well as officials have their shortcomings. 
Tlu* former are interested in antiquity only, and neglect the present, 
the CKin and Han time. They only know the Classics, but even 
many questions concerning tlie age and the origin of the Classics 
they cannot answer. The officials know their business, but often 
cannot say, why they do a thing, since tliey do not possess the 
necessary historical knowledge. 

Book XIIL 
37. Chap. 1. Hsiao-li 効力. 

The chapter treats of the faculties of the scholars and the 
officials, and of their energy and perseverance displayed in different 

38. Chap. n. Pieh-fung 別通. 

There is the same difference between the learned and the 
uncultivated as between the rich and the poor. Learning is a 
power and more important than wealth. 

39. Chap. III. Ch'ao-chi 赵勢 

There are various degrees of learning. Some remarks are 
made on the works of several scholars, e. g. tlie philosopher Yang 
Tse Yiln and the two historians Pan. 

Book XIV. 

40. Chap. I. a 醒— 狀留. 

Scholars do not strive for office. As for practical success 
they are outrivalled by the officials, who are men of business. 

*41. Chap. II. Han-wen 寒温 (On Heat and Cold). 

Wang Ch ung contests the assertion of the plienomenalists that 
there is a correspondence between heat and cold and the joy and 
anger of the sovereign. He points out that the South is the seat 
of heat, and the North of cold. Moreover the temperature de- 
pends oil the four seasons and tlie 24 time-periods. 


Lun - Heng : Introduction . 

*42. Chap. 111. CKien-kao 識告 (On Reprimands). 

The samnts liold that Heaven reprimands a sovereign whose 
administration is bad, visiting him with calamities. First he causes 
extraordinary events. Tf the sovereign does not change then, lie 
sends down misfortunes upon bis people, and at last he punishes 
his own person. Heaven is represented like a prince governing 
his people. These heavenly punishments would be at variance 
with Heaven's virtue, which consists in spontaneity and inaction. 
Heaven does not act itself, it acts through man, and speaks 
through the mouths of the Sages, in whose hearts is ingrafted its 
virtue. The utterances of the Classics ascribing human qualities 
to Heaven are only intended to give more weight to those teach- 
ings, and to frighten tlie wicked and the unintelligent. 

Book XV. 

*43. Chap, 1. Pien-tung 眷動 (Phenomenal Changes). 

Heaven influences things, but is not affected by them. All 
creatures being filled with the heavenly fluid, Heaven is the master, 
and not the servant. The Yang and the Yin move things, but are 
not moved. The deeds and the prayers of a tiny creature like 
man cannot impress the mighty fluid of Heaven, and the sobs of 
thousands of people cannot touch it. Heaven is too far, and its 
fluid shapeless without beginning or end. It never sets the laws 
of nature aside for man's sake. 

44. Chap. II. 招致. 
(This chapter has been lost.) 

45. Chap. III. Ming-yu 明導 

The rain sacrifice, which during the CJixm-cliiu period was 
performed at times of drought, forms tlie subject of this essay. 
People use to pray for rain and happiness, as they implore tlie 
spirits to avert sickness and other evils. Some believe that rain 
is caused by tlie stars, others that it depends on tlie government 
of a State, others again that it comes from the mountains. The 
last opinion is shared by Wang CKung. 

46. Chap. IV. Shun-ku 順鼓. 

The chapter treats of the religious (Hu-enionies performed to 
avert inuiid.-it iou.s, in which the beating of drums is very important. 

Table of Contents of the Lun-heng. 


Book XVI. 
47. Chap. I. Luan-luny .簡[; 龍. 

As a means to attract the rain by the sympathetic action ol" 
similar fluids Tung Chung Shu had put up a clay dragon. Wang 
Cli uiiy attempts to demonstrate the efficacy of this procedure by 
15 arguments and 4 analogies. 

48. Chap. II. Tsao-hu 遭虎. 

Wang Cli nug controverts the popular belief that, when men 
are devoured by tigers, it is the wickedness of secretaries and minor 
officials which causes these disasters. 

49. Chap. III. Shang-cKung 商虫. 

The common belief that the eating of the grain by insects 
is a consequence of the covetousness of the yamen underlings is 
shown to be futile. 

*50. Chap. IV. Chiang-jui 講攝 (Arguments on Ominous 


Wang CKung denies that the literati would be able to re- 
cognise a plioenix or a unicorn, should they appear, nor would they 
know a sage either. The plioenix and the unicorn are regarded 
as holy animals and as lucky auguries. The old traditions about 
their appearance at various times and their shape, wliicli are very 
conflicting, are discussed. Wang CKuiig holds that these animals do 
not only appear at tlie time of universal peace, that as ominous 
creatures they are born of a propitious fluid, and do not belong 
to a certain species, but may grow from dissimilar parents of a 
coimuou species of animals. 

Book XVII. 
51. Chap. L Chih-jui 指端. 

The discussion on the phoenix and the unicorn is continued. 
Wang Ch ung impugns the opinion that tliese animals are not born 
in China, but come from abroad, when there is a wise emperor. 
They grow in China, even, when there is no sage. 


Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

52. Chap. 11. Shih-ying 是應. 

This chapter treats of the various lucky omens of the Golden 
Age: ― the purple boletus, the wine springs, the sweet dew, the 
Ching star, the monthly plant, the phoenix, the unicorn, and of 
some other fabulous animals. 

58. Chap. III. Chih-ch'i 、冶 期. 

The praise of antiquity, its high virtue and happiness is un- 
founded. There is nothing but fate. Human activity is powerless. 

Book XVIII. 

*54. Chap. I. Tse-jan 自然 (Spontaneity). 

Heaven emits its generating fluid spontaneously, not on pur- 
pose. It lias no desires, no knowledge, and does not act. These 
qualities require organs : ― a mouth, eyes, hands, etc., which it 
does not possess. Its body must be either like that of Earth, or 
air. Heaven's fluid is placid, desireless, and unbusied. This spon- 
taneity is a Taoist theory, but they did not sufficiently substantiate 
it. Only Sages resembling Heaven can be quite spontaneous and 
inactive, others must act, and can be instructed. Originally men 
lived in a happy state of ignorance. Customs, laws, in short 
culture is already a decline of virtue. 

55. Chap. II. Kan-lei 感類. 

Natural calamities and unlucky events are not the upshot of 
Luman guilt, as a thunderstorm is not a manifestation of lieaveu's 

*56. Chap. III. CJii-shih 齊世 (The Equality of tlie Ages). 

People of old were not better, nor stronger, taller or longer 
lived than at present. Heaven and Earth have remained the same, 
and their creatures likewise. There is a pci'iodical alternation of 
prosperity and decline in all the ages. The present time is not' 
inferior to antiquity, but the literati extol the past and disparage 
the present. Even sages like Confucius would not find favour with 
them, if they happened to live now. And yet the llan dynasty is 
quite equal to the famous old dyiiasties. 

Table of Contents oi' the Lun-hAng. 


Book XIX. 
57. Chap. I. Hsiian Han 

The scholars hold that iu olden days there has been a Golden 
Age, which is passed and does not come back owing to tlie bad- 
ness of the times. Wang CKung stands up for his own time, the 
I km epoch. He enumerates the lucky portents observed under the 
Han emperors, and refers to the great achievements of the llan 
dy nasty in the way of colonising and civilising savage countries. 

58. Chap. II. Hui-kuo 恢國. 

Wang Cliung gives to the Ilan dynasty the preference over 
all the others, and again discourses on the lucky auguries marking- 
its reign. 

59. Chap. III. Yen-fu 驗符. 

The discovery of gold under the Han dynasty, and ojf purple 
boletus, the sweet-dew-fall in several districts, and the arrival of 
dragons and phoenixes are put forward as so many proofs of the 
excellence of the Han dynasty. 

Book XX. 

60. Chap. I. Hsu-sung 須頌' 
This chapter is a variation of the two preceding. 

61. Chap. n. Yi-wen 佚文. 

The subject of this treatise is purely literary. It discusses 
the discovery of the Classics in the house of Confucius, the Burning 
of the Books under Cliin Shih Huang Ti, and the literature of the 
Han epoch, of which several authors are mentioned. 

*62. Chap. III. Lun-sse 諭死 (On Death). 

Man is a creature. Since other creatures do not become 
ghosts alter death, man cannot become a ghost either. If all the 
millions that have lived, became spirits, there would not be suffi- 
cient room for all the spirits iu the world . The dead never give 
any sign of there existence, therefore they cannot exist any more. 
The vital fluid Ibruimg the soul disperses at death, licnv could it 


Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

become a ghost. A spirit is diffuse and formless. Before its birth 
the soul forms part of the primogenial fluid, which is unconscious. 
When at death it reverts thereto, it becomes unconscious again. 
The soul requires the body to become conscious and to act. If 
sleep causes unconsciousness, and if a disease disorganises the mind, 
death must do the same in a still higher degree. 

Book XXL 

*63. Chap. I. Sse-wei 死偽 (False Reports about the Dead). 

A number of ghost stories are quoted from the Tso-chuan and 
other ancient works, wliere discontented spirits are reported to have 
taken their revenge upon, aud killed their enemies. Wang Cliiing 
either rejects these stories as inventions, or tries to explain them 
in a natural way. 

Book XXII. 

*64, Chap. I. Chi-yao 糸已妖 (Spook Stories). 

Several spook and ghost stories recorded in the Shi-chi and 
tlie Tso-chuan are analysed. Wang- CKung explains tliem in accord- 
ance with his theory on tlie spontaneity of Heaven, and on the 
nature of apparitions and portents. 

*65. Chap. II. Ting-kuei 訂鬼 (All about Ghosts). 

Wang CK ung sets forth tlie different opinions on the nature 
of ghosts, propounded at his time. Some hold that ghosts are 
visions of sick people, or the fluid of sickness. Others regard tliein 
as the stellar fluid, or as the essence of old creatures, or as the 
spirits of cycli(ral signs. After an excursion on the demons, devils, 
and goblins mentioned in ancient books, Wmig tit ung gives his own 
views, according to wliicli ghosts are apparitions and phantoms 
foreboding* evil, wliicli have assumed human form, but are only 
seinblaiK^es and disembodied. Tliey consist of tlie solar fluid, the 
Yau(j, are therefore red, burning, and to a certain extent poisonous. 

Book XXIII. 
*66. Clicij). I. Yen-tu 言毒 (On Poison). 

Animal and vegetable poison is the hot air of the sun. All 
beings filled with tl)e solar lluid contain some poison. Snakes, 
scorpions, and some plants have plenty of it. Gliosts, which consist 

Table of Contents of the Luii - heng. 


of the pure solar fluid, are burning poison, which eventually kills. 
There is poison in some diseases, in a sun-stroke for instance and in 
lumbago. Wang Clt ung discovers real poison in speech, in beauty, and 
ill several tastes, which only metapliorically might be called poisonous, 
and mixes up the subject still more by improper symbolism. 

67. Chap. II. Po-tsang 稱靠. 

This chapter is directed against the extravagance in funerals, 
on the score that the dead have no benefit from it. 

68. Chap. III. Sse-wei 四 誇- 

There is a popular belief that four tilings are dangerous 
and bring misfortune i-iz. to enlarge a house at the west side, to 
allow a banished man to ascend a tumulus, the intercourse with 
women, during the first month after they have given birtli to a 
child, and the rearing of children born in the 1st and the 5tli months, 
wl)o will cause the deaths of their parents. Wang CKung combats 
these superstitions. 

69. Chap. IV. Lan-shih 醫 問時. 
Wang CJi ung discourses on the common belief that in building 
one must pay attention to an unpropitious time, which may be 
warded off by amulets. He further speaks of the spirits of the 
year, the months, etc. 

Book XXIV. 

70. Chap. I. Chi-jih 譏 g . 

Some more superstitions concerning unlucky years, moiitlis, 
and days, which must be shunned to avoid misfortunes, are in- 
vestigated. For many actions tlie election of a proper time is 
deemed to be of great importance, e. g. for a funeral, or for com- 
mencing a building. Bathing on certain days, women become beau- 
tiful: bathing on others makes their hair turn white. On the day 
of T sang Hsielis death, who invented writing, one must not study 
calligraphy, and on tlie day of the downfall of the Yin and Hsia 
dynasties one does not make music. 

*71. Chap. II. Pu-shih 卜 楚 (On Divination). 
People often neglect virtue and only rely on divination, 
Tlioy imagine that by means ol' tortoise shells and milfoil tliey 


Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

can interrogate Heaven and Earth about the future, and that they 
reply by the signs of the shells and the straws. Wang Cliung 
shows that sucli an opinion is erroneous, but, whereas Han Fei Tse 
condemns divination altogether, be upholds this science. In his 
idea visions, signs, and omens are true by all means, only tliey 
are very often misunderstood or misinterpreted by the diviners. 
The lucky will meet 、、'11:11 good omens, which, however, are not tlie 
response of Heaven, but happen by chance. 

*72. Chap. III. Pien-sui 辨祟 (Criticisms on Noxious Influences). 

Most people are under the delusion that by disregarding an 
unpropitious time viz. years, months, and days of dread, they will 
have to suffer from noxious influences, falling in with evil spirits, 
which work disaster. This is an error, as shown by experience, 
but horoscopists and seers are silent on all cases contradicting their 
theory. A vast literature has sprung up on this subject, and the 
princes dare not take' any important step in lite, any more than 
their people, without reference to it. 

73. Chap. IV. Nan-sui ||^. 

Wang CKung impugns the view that by moving one's residence 
one may come into collision with the Spirit of the North Point, 
Nan Sui, which would be disastrous. 

Book XXV. 
74. Chap. I. Ch'i-shu 諸術. 

The chapter treats of the precautions which used to be taken 
in building houses, special attention being paid to the family name, 
the number of the house, the situation, etc. 

*75. Chap. II. Chieh-cKu 解 |( 余 (On Exorcism). 

By exorcism malignant spirits are expelled after having been 
feasted. Exorcism and conjurations are of no use, for either would 
the ghosts not yield to the force employed against them, and resent 
the afl'roiit, or, il" they are like mist and clouds, their expulsion 
would be useless. In ancient times, sickness was expelled in this 
way. Tlie propitiation ol" the Spirit of" Earth, after having dug up 
the ground, is also useless, for Earth does uot hear man nor 
understand his speech. All depends upon man, not on ghosts. 

Table of Contents of the Lun-heng. 


*76. Chap. III. Ssf-yi 示 |1 義 (Sacrifices to the Departed). 

Sacrifices are merely manifestations of the feelings of love 
and gratitude, which the living cherish towards gliosis and spirits. 
The latter cannot enjoy the sacrifices, which are presented to them, 
because having no body, they are devoid of knowledge and can- 
not eat or drink. If Heaven and Earth could eat or drink, they 
would require such enormous quantities of food, that man could 
never appease tlieir hunger. W axg C/i img treats of the nature of 
ghosts, and refers to the sacrifices to Heaven and Earth, to the 
House, to the Gods of Wind, Rain, and Thunder, to the Sun, the 
Moon, and the Stars, and to the Ancestors. 

*77. Chap. IV. • 祭意 (Sacrifices). 

The various old sacrifices are described, those to Heaven and 
Earth, to the Mountains and Rivers, to the Spirits of the Land 
and Grain, to the Six Superior Powers, to the Seasons, Heat and 
Cold, Water and Drought, the Rain Sacrifice, those to tlie Four 
Cardinal Points, to the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars, the Five 
Genii of the House, and to the Ancestors. All these sacrifices 
saving the last were State sacrifices and reserved for the emperor, 
the feudal princes, and their officials. Tliey are thank-offerings for 
kindness received. There are no spirits present to enjoy them, nor 
can they bestow happiness on the sacrificers. or visit with mis- 
fortune those who neglect them. Therefore sacrifices are a beau- 
tiful custom, but of no great consequence. 

Book XXVI. 

78. Chap. I. Shih-chih 實》 []• 

Saints and Sages are credited with an extraordinary know- 
ledge. They need not learn or study, for they are cognisant of 
everything intuitively, and know the past as well as the future. 
This is a fallacy. There are no supernatural faculties, and even 
those of the Sages follow the natural laws. 

79. Chap. 11. a/" 滅 知實. 

Confucius was not prescient and not a prophet, as lias been 
asserted. 16 examples are given, all showing his inability to fore- 
know the future. 


Lun - Heng : Introduction. 

Book XXVII. 
80. Chap. 1. Ting-hsien 定賢. 

The nature of the Worthies is defined. Examples are ad- 
duced of what tliey -are not. No exceptional talents are I'equii'ed, 
but a certain amount of intelligence and honesty. Worthies belong 
to the same class as Saints or Sages, but are somewhat inferior. 

. Book XXVIII. 

*81. Cliap. I. Cheng-shuo 正說 (Statements Corrected). 

This chaj)ter contains critical remarks on tlie composition 
and tlie history of the Shnking, the Shikiny 、 the Clitm-cJiiu, tlie 
Yiking, tlie Liki, and tlie Analccis. The meaning of tlie dynastic 
names of T ang, Yil^ the Hsia, Yin, and Chou dynasties is explained, 
and some hints as to how tlie Canons are to be interpreted are 

82. Chap. II. Shu-chieh 書解. 

The chapter deals with learning and erudition, with literary 
composition, and with tlie various kinds of men of letters. 

Book XXIX. 

*83. Chap. I. An-shu 案書 (Critical Remarks on Various 


Wang CKung criticises the famous authors of his time and 
their works, beginning with some writers of the Chou epocli. He 
finds fault with Me Ti, the sophist Kwig Sun Lung, and tlie specu- 
lative philosopher Tsou Yen, and commends Tso Cli m Ming, tlie 
author of the Tso-chum and the Kuo-yii. He speaks with great 
respect of the historians Sse Ma Cliien and Pan Ku, the philosopher 
Yang Tse Ywi, and Liu TJsiang^ and in the highest terms of Lu 
Chia, who published the C/iuii-c/i iu-fan-lu, and of Iluan Chun Shan 
and Iluan JCuan, the authors of the Hsin-lun and the Yen-t' ieh-lun. 

*84. (; hap. II. Tui-tso 對作 (Replies in Self-Defence). 

Wang ('Jiung gives the reasons, wliy he wrote his principal 
works, the Lun-h/mg and the Cheng-wu, a treatise on government. 
In t lie Lun-lieiiy he wishes to explain common errors, to point out 

Table of Contents of the Lun - heng. 


the exaggerations and inventions in literature, and thus deliver 
mankind of its prejudices. Tlie Ltm-heng weighs the words and 
holds up a balance for truth and falsehood. Wang Ch ung shows 
the advantage wliicli might be derived from different dia|)ters, 
and meets the objection;^ wliicli his opponents would perhaps raise. 

Book XXX. 

*85. Chap. 1. Tse-chi 自 ;! 已 (Autobiography), 

Wang Cliting is a native of Shang-yil-hsien in Chekiang. His 
family originally lived in Chihli. He was born in a,d, 27, and already 
as a boy was very fond of study. In his official career he was 
not very successful. The highest post which he held about a.d. 86 
was that of a sub-prefect. The equanimity of a philosopher helped 
him over many disappointments. His ideal was to possess an ex- 
tensive knowledge, a keen intellect, and a noble mind. Besides his 
chief work the Lun-heng, he wrote 12 chapters on common morals 
in a plain and easy style, and a treatise "Macrobiotics" in a.d. 91. 
He defends the style, the volurainoiisness, and the contents of the 
Lun-heng against the attacks directed against it. 



Selected Essays of the Philosopher Wang Ch'ung. 

Autobiography ( Tse-cJii) . 

Wang CKung is a native of Shang-yil-hsien ^ in K'uei-chi^. His 
style is Chung Jen. His family hails from Yuan-cli eng^ in the Wei^ 
circuit. One of his clan, Sun-yi, served his whole life as a soldier, 
and distinguished himself so much, that lie was appointed warden 
of the southern part of K iiei-chi、 but, when one year a disturbance 
broke out, which disorganised the State, he continued to reside 
there, and became a farmer and cultivator of mulberry-trees. 

His great o-rand-fatlier was very bold and violent, and, when 
in a passion, cared for nobody. In a year of dearth he behaved 
lil^e a ruffian, and wounded and killed people. Those wliom he 
had wronged, and who were waiting for an opportunity to wreak 
their vengeance, were very numerous. As in K'uei-chi revolts were 
of constant occurrence, and there was danger that his enemies would 
seize upon him, the grand-father Fan removed his family and liis 
household from iCuei-chi, and settled in CKien-t' ang-hsien,^ where 
he lived as a merchant. He had two sons, the elder was called 
Meng, the younger Sung . Swig is the father of Wang CKung. 

The grand-father had a violent temper, which in his sons, 
Mmg and Sung, became so intense, that many people in Cli ien-t' ang 
had to suffer from their vehemence. At last they became involved 
again in a feud with Ting Po and otlier influential families, in ("on- 
secjuence of which they emigrated with their families to Sliang-yii. 

In the third year of Chini- 飄, Wang Cliting was born. When 
playing with his companions, he disliked all frivolous games. I- lis 
comrades would entrap birds, catch cicadas, play for money, and 
gambol on stilts. Wang CJiung alone declined to take part in their 
games to the great amazement of his father. 

1 In Shao-hsing-fu {(Jhelciang). , 

2 Under the Han dynasty ICuei-chi comprises Chrkiuiig, the South of Anhui, 
and the Nortli of Fukien. 

3 In Ta-ming-fu {Chili). 

4 A circuit comprising parts of (Hiili and Honan. 

5 In the Hang-chmi prefecture of" ( hekiang. 

6 27 A.D. 



At the age of six, he received his first instruction, and learned 
r<) behave with politeness, honesty, benevolence, obedience, pro- 
priety, and reverence. He was grave, earnest, and very quiet, and 
had tlie will of a great man. His father never flogged him, his 
mother never gave him a "harsh word, and the neighbours never 
scolded liim. Wlien lie was eight years old, he went to school. 
There Mere over one liundred small boys in this school. As a 
punisliment for faults committed they used to be stripped, or were 
\\ hipped for bad writing. Wang Ch ung made daily progress, and 
never committed any offence. 

When lie could write sentences, his teacher explained to him 
the Analects and tlie Shilling, of wliicli lie daily read a thousand 
characters. When lie knew tlie Classics, and his virtue had thus 
been developed, lie left his teacher, and devoted his private studies 
to writing and composing so, that every one was astonished, and 
tlie extent of his reading widened day by day. But he did not 
make bad use of his talents, and though he possessed great dia- 
lectical skill. 】ie was not fond of disputations. Unless 】ie found 
tlie proper audience, he did not speak the whole day. His speech 
w as quaint and not like that of others, but those wlio listened to 
him to the end, agreed with liim. Such were also tlie productions 
of his pen, and so were his conduct, and his behaviour towards 
his superiors. 

In a district he rose to the rank of a secretary, and held the 
same office in the department of a military governor. In a pre- 
fect ure he was one of the five chief secretaries,^ and in a depart- 
ment he was appointed assistant- magistrate. He did not strive for 
fame, and did not regulate his conduct in accordance with his per- 
sonal profits. He always spoke of people's merits and seldom of 
their faults. Those who had not yet got on in their career, were 
specially recommended by him, and he exposed only the faults of 
those who had secured a position. When he thought anything wrong, 
lie did not praise it, and when a fault was not done away with, 
he did not again condemn the man. He could pardon the great 
faults of a man, and also pitied his minor mistakes. His desire 
was to be unimpeachable himself, but he did not wish to shine. 
He endeavoured to base his claims on recognition upon his actions, 
and was ashamed to presume upon his talents. 

I A prefecture or a circuit 一 of which there were 36 during the Han epoch 一 
was devided into 5 regions : 一 the centre and four quarters. Each region was super- 
intended by a chief secretary of the prefect, who had the jurisdiction over his region. 
Lun - Ucng. 5 


Lun - Heng : A. Biographical. 

In public meetings he did not speak, unless he was asked, 
and in the presence of princes and generals he only replied, when 
he was addressed. In the coimtiy lie attempted to follow the example 
of Chil Po Yil^ ^ and in the court he wished to imitate Sliih Tse Yilr 

When insulted, lie did not Avhite-wash himself, and, when in 
his career lie was not promoted, he did not feel grieved. Although 
he was poor and had not an acre to dwell upon, his mind was 
freer than that of kings and dukes, and though lie had no emolu- 
ments counted by pecks and piculs, he felt, as if he had ten 
thousand chung^ to live upon. Obtaining an appointment, he was 
not overjoyed, and losing it, lie did not feel distressed. He en- 
joyed a tranquil happiness, but his desires did not run riot, and 
though he was living in a state of poverty, his energy was not 
broken. The study of ancient literature was liis debauchery, and 
strange stories liis relish. In the current. books and common sayings 
lie found much, in which lie could not aquiesce. A recluse in his 
solitary retirement, lie tried to find truth and falsehood. 

Wang CKung had a pure and sterling character. He made 
friends wherever he went, but did not contract these friendsliips 
carelessly. The position of his friends might be ever so low, and 
in years they miglit be ever so young, provided only that ihey 
rose above common-place mediocrity, he would seek their friend- 
ship. He had a great admiration for superior men, and liked to 
associate with distinguished people, but would not lightly become 
intimate with men of common gifts. In case these latter slandered 
him for a slight fault or any insignificant mistake, lie would not 
clear himself of these accusations, nor did lie bear any grudge 
against them. 

1 A disciple of Confadus, whom the master esteemed very much. 

2 Sliih Tse Yii ― Shih Tii, a high officer in Wei. When Duke Lin" of )Vc/ 
(533-492) . did not employ (,hii Po Yii^ Shih Tse Yii remonstrated with the duke, 
but in vain. Soon afterwards he fell sick. Feeling his end coming, he told his son 
to place his corpse under the window, without performing the usual funeral rites, 
because he did not deserve them, not having been able to convince the duke of 
what was right. When the duke paid his condolence, the son informed him of 
what his father had said. The duke repented, and then appointed Chii Fo YiL 
When ( 'onfuciu.s heard of this, he exclaimed : ― " How upright was Shih Tse 】'ii, 
who still as a corpse afliiionished his sovereign." 《 ,hii Po Yii was of a different 
turn of luiiid. Cortfuciuft said of liim that, when bad govcninuMit prevailed, he coultl 
roll his principles up, and keep tltoni in his breast, {Analects XV, 6.) 

3 Oj:c chung = 4 pecks. 



Some one might ask, why a man of remarkable g-ifts and 
t xtraordinary literary talent should not defend himself against false 
incriminations. Yang Sheng and others were foul-mouthed and glib- 
toiigiied: ])ut Tsou Yang vindicated himself and came out of jail 
aii,ain. ' W hen a man's conduct is perfect, people should not at- 
tempt to find flaws in it, and when somebody exerts himself to 
come to the front, they should not keep him down. 

I reply that none but the pure remark dust, and none but 
the exalted perceive dangers. Only those living- in abundance, feel 
restraints, and those in opulence know wliat is want. The scholars 
at present talk too much of themselves, therefore tliey are slandered 
by otlie'rs, which is their clue. Desirous to get on, they show 
themselves, and resenting neglect, they assert themselves. Being free 
of these desires and resentments, 1 keep quiet. 

The slanders of Yang Sheng were probably prompted by some- 
l)ody, and when Tsou Yang was delivered, some one saved liim. 
( 'onfucius spoke of destiny and Mencnis of heaven. Luck and mishap, 
quietude and danger do not depend on man. The ancients knew 
this, therefore tliey ascribed these things to destiny and attributed 
til em to time. Placid, tranquil, and equanimous, they did not com- 
plain of injustice. When happiness came, they did not imagine 
tliat they themselves had brought it about, and when misfortune 
befell them, tliey did uot consider it their cnvn doing. When they 
Avere successful, their joy was not immoderate, and when they 
suffered reverses, tlieir courage did not fail them. They did not 
hate need, and therefore cra've for plenty, nor did tliey brave dangers 
to win peace. Their wisdom they did not sell for wages, and tliey 
(lid not decline honours to become famous. Not being bent on 
success, they did not try to show off, and not resenting reverses, tliey 
(lid not complain of others. Tranquillity and excitement were tliesaine 
to them, life and death equal, luck and mishap identical, and victory 
and defeat one. Meeting even ten Yang Shengs, they would have said 
that it mattered not; tliey left everything to heaven, and therefore did 
not wish to sjiine. 

Wang Ck' ung was of a cheerful and easy-going disposition, 
and did not strive for wealth and honour. When liis superiors 
took notice of him, and promoted him above tlie heads of others, 

1 Tsou Yang lived under the reign of Ching Ti (156-141 B.C.). At the court 
of King HMao of Liang he was denounced by Yang Sheng and others, and thrown 
into prison, but by a memorial, which from his confinement he sent to the king, he 
obtained his release, and was re-instated into all his honours. 


68 Lun - Heng : A. Biographical. 

he did not cling to his liigh post, and, when tliey ignored, denounced, 
and degraded him, lie did not pine at his low rank. When in the 
district magistrate's office, lie had no ambition and no repugnance. 

Some one might object that to act like this is easy enough, but 
that the difficulty lies with the heart. Meeting with congenial 
friends, scholars do not care for the place, but whose example can 
they follow, when they have dirty and distasteful business to do? 

There is no better paragon than Confucius, I should say. Cou- 
Aic'ms as an official had no aversions. In charge of tlie public tields 
and as keeper of the granaries he was not low- spirited, and wlien 
he was superintendent of works and minister, his face was not 
beaming with joy. Shun tilled the land on the Li-shan, ' as though 
lie should continue to do so for ever, and when lie liad received 
the empire from Yao, he behaved, as if lie had obtained it later 
on as a matter of course. We must be sorry tliat our virtue is 
not quite perfect, but not regret our 】mmble rank, and we may 
be abashed, if our name is not Avithout blemish, but should not 
feel chagrined, because we do not advance in our career. Marble 
may be kept in the same box with tiles, and moon-stones in the 
same bag witli pebbles. Being both of precious stuff, they are 
not injured by being mixed with other things in the world. For 
him wlio knows what is good, good things shine even in base 
places, wliereas to those who cannot make these distinctions, they 
look common even in a prominent place. As long as the deeds of 
people in low and high spheres can be measured, and as the virtues 
of men in humble positions, and of noble rank can be compared, 
it is all right. 

The world courts those who have been successful, and dis- 
dains those who have failed. It liails the victor, and spurns the 
defeated. As long as Wang Climig was rising, and holding' rank 
and office, all the people swarmed around him like ants, but. when 
he had lost his position and was living in ])overty, his former 
friends abandoned him. He pondered over the lieartlessness of the 
world and in his leisure he wrote twelve chapters " Censures on 
Common Morals'? hoping that the reading of these books woiild 
rouse the public conscience. For tliis purpose lie expressly wrote 

' It is not certain where this Mount Li was situated. Various places aje 
assigned to it. 

2 Chi eu chieh yi. 



it in an easy, popular style. Should anybody condemn it as shal- 
low, I would reply that if the style of the Sacred Institutions i 
be employed for the Lesser Odes,^ or if an elegant speech be ad- 
dressed to rustics, they would not understand anything, and there- 
fore not agree. Tlius Su Cli in^ spoke very elegantly in Chao, but 
Li Tui was not euclianted at all. Shang Yang * spoke in Ch'in, as 
il" lie had addressed an emperor, but Duke Hsiao ^ did not follow 
liis advice. If no attention be paid to the individuality and in- 
clinations of the bearers, one may exhaust the eloquence of Yao 
aud Shun, it would be like giving an ox wine to drink and feeding 
a horse on preserved meat. A refined, rhetorical, and scientific style 
is fit for the upper classes of society, but out of place for small- 
minded people. It happens very seldom, that those who must 
hear somethiug" nolens volem, take it to heart. 

When Confucius had lost a horse in the country, the country- 
people locked it up, and did not return it. Tse Kung spoke to them 
ill well turned sentences, but only made tliein angry, but when 
the groom addressed them in a faiuilar, jocular tone, they re- 

To use high-flown expressions at all costs instead of the plain 
and simple language of the people is like mixing- an eiixir, as the 
spirits use, to cure a cold or a cough, aud to put on a fur-coat of 
sable or fox to fetch firewood or vegetables. As regards propriety, 
a, thing is often out of place, and many an action is often better 
left undone. To give a decision, aud understand a grievance, one 
must not be a Kao Yao,'' aud to cook sunflower-seed and onions, 
no Yi 7P or Yi Ya^ is required. lu a side-alley one does not 
play the music of Shun and 11 m, aud to the Village Mother 】。 
one does not sacrifice a whole ox. What is unnecessary, is also 

1 Parts of the Shu-king. 

2 The minor odes of the Shi-king. 

3 A politician of the 4th cent. b.c. (Cf. Chap. XXXVII.) 

4 Vid. p. 171, Note 2. 

& Duke Hsiao of Chin, 361-337 b.c. 

'' This adventure is related by Huai Nan Tse (quoted in the Pei-wen-yun-fu) 
likewise, who adds that the horse of Confucius was retained by the peasants, because 
it had eaten their corn. 

' A minister of Shun. 

8 I i Ti, the inventor of wine, who presented the first cup to Great Yii. 

9 】 i Ya, the famous cook of Duke Huan of Ch'i, 7th cent. b.c. (Cf. Mmcius, 
Bk. VI, Pt. I, chap. 7, Legge Vol. H, p. 281.) 

10 The matron-saint of a village. 


Lun - Heng : A. Biographical. 

To carve a fowl with a butcher's knife, to reap sun-flowers witli 
a Shu ^ spear, to cut chop-sticks with an iron halberd, and to pour 
a glassful into a basin or a tureen would be incongruous, and tV\v 
would recommend it. Wliat is the principle of debating? To illus- 
trate deep thoughts by simple ones. And liow do we prove that 
we possess knowledge? By illustrating difficult points by easy ones. 
Sages and worthies use to weigh, what suits the different talents. 
Hence the difl'erence of style, which may be difficult or easy. 

Since Wang Clt ung deplored the popular feeling, he wrote his 
Censures on Public Morals, and also lamenting the vain efforts of 
the emperor's government, which was endeavouring to govern the 
people, but could uot find the right way, nor understand what was 
required, and mournful and disliearteiied did not see its course, lie 
wrote the book on goveniiuent.- Furthermore disgusted with the 
many deceitful books and popular literature devoid of veracity and 
truthfulness, he composed the Disquisitions {Lun-Iteng), 

The worthies and sages are dead, and their great doctrine has 
split up. Many new roads have beeu struck out, on which many 
people have stumbled. Every one must have his own school. In- 
telligent men have seen this, but were unable to find the right 
way. Old traditions have been transmitted, either written down, 
or spread by hearsay. Since they were dating from over a hundred 
years backwards and growing older from clay to day, people have 
regarded them as antique lore and therefore near tlie truth, and 
this belief became so rooted iu their minds, that they themselves 
were incapable of eradicating it again. 

For this reason the Disquisitions have been written to show 
the truth. They are in a lively style and full of controversy. Every 
specious and futile argument lias been tested, semblance and false- 
hood have been rejected, and only what is real and solid has beeu 
preserved. Loose manners have been suppressed, ami the customs 
of Fu HsVs time 3 revived. 

Wang Ch wig s writings are lucid and easy to understand. There 
are those who pretend that the words of a good debater must be 
profound, and the compositions^ of an able writer obscure. The 

1 An old State in AnhnL 

2 (JMng - wu. 

3 The Golden Age. 



style of the classic" literature and tlie sayiiigss ol" worthies and sages 
arc graiul and majestic, beautiful and re lined, i\ nd difficult to grasp 
af first. Those wlio study their whole life, learn to understand them 
with the uecessary explanations. Tlie genius of the first thinkers 
being so wondorl'ul, their expressions cannot be the same as tbose of 
ordinary people. Gems, they say, are concealed in stones, and pearls 
in (isli-inavvs. Only jewel-lapidaries and pearl-experts can find them. 
These pm'ious tilings cannot be seen, because they are hidden, and 
thus truisms must be profound and deep, and hard to grasp. 

Tlie "Censures on Morals" are intended to rouse people, there- 
fore the meaning is perspicuous and the style quite plain. But 
why must the Lung-heng be like this too? Is the talent of the 
author so shallow, that it was absolutely impossible to hide any- 
tiling? Why is the style so perspicuous, and quite a different 
principle followed than in tlie classical literature? 

My reply is as follows. A gem is concealed in a stone and 
a pearl iu a fish-maw, and therefore they are covered and in the 
(lark. But, wlieu the colour of the gem beams from the heart of 
the stone, and the lustre of the pearl breaks through the fish-maw, 
are they still hidden ? Tliey are like my thoughts, before they 
Wave been fixed in books. Enshrined in iny bosom, tliey are like 
geins or pearls in their concealment, shining ibrth, brilliant as the 
spioudour of the heavenly bodies, and clear as the distinct lines of 
the surface of the earth. 

Lest things should remain doubtful and obscure to us, we 
can describe them all by names, and, provided that the names are 
rlear, all tlie things become defined. The Lun-Mng discusses these 
([uestions impartially. 

In speaking, it is essential to use clear words, and in writing, 
to employ plain signs. Tlie style of eminent scholars is refined, 
but their words can always be understood, and their meaning al- 
ways be caught. Their readers are suddenly euligliteued like blind 
men wlio recover their sight, or stirred up like deaf men who 
suddenly learn to liear. When a child who lias been blind for 
three years, unexpectedly sees his parents, lie would not, at once, 
know them on perceiving them, why then sliould he give utterance 
to his joy? 

Let a huge tree stand by the road-side, and a long ditch run 
along- a bank, then the locality is well defined, and everybody 
knows it. Now, should the tree not be huge any more and dis- 
appear, and the ditch not be long and be hidden, and the place 
be shown to people, even Yao and Shun would be perplexed. 


Lun - Heng : A. Biographical. 

The human features are divided into more than seventy dif- 
ferent classes. The flesh of the cheeks being pure and white, the 
five colours can be clearly discerned, and the slightest sorrow, 
pleasure, and other emotions, all find expression in the features. 
A physiognomist will not once be mistaken in ten cases. But if 
the face be blackened and begrimed, or covered with a layer of 
dirt so, that the features are hidden, tlien physiognomists will give 
wrong answers nine times out of ten. 

The style is formed of words. It may be shallow, perspicuous, 
and distinct, or deep, abstruse, elegant, and polished. Who shall 
distinguish it? 

We speak to express our thoughts, and from fear, that our 
words might be lost, we commit them to writing. Writing Laving 
the same purpose as speaking, wlierefore should it conceal the 

A judge must hate wrong. Now, would a magistrate, wlio 
while deciding a doubtful case gives a confuse and unintelligent 
verdict, be a better official tlian another, who clearly distinguislies 
every point, and can easily be understood? 

In oral discussions, one makes clear distinctions out of regards 
for tlie audience, and in written disputations one elucidates one's 
meaning to be understood. In historical works, a clear and intel- 
ligible style is most appreciated, and of profound productions, full 
of beautiful thoughts, but liard to read, there are only pieces of 
irregular verse and dithyrambs. As for the classical and semi- 
classical works and the words of the worthies and sages, the an- 
cient and modern languages are different, and speech varies in the 
different parts of the empire. At the time, when these men spoke, 
tliey did not wisli that their words should be difficult to under- 
stand, or that their meaning should be hidden. If later ages did 
not understand them, this is owing to the remoteness of time. 
Tlierelbre one may speak of tlie dilTei'ence of language, but not of 
genius or shallowness of style. 11" tlie reading offers great diffi- 
culties, tlie works may be considered as not very cleverly written, 
but this should not be reputed a great wisdom. 

C'A in S/dh Iluanfj Ti reading Ihiii Fei Tses work exclaimed 
with a sigh! "Alas! that 1 am alone, ami have not got this man I " ' 
They were contemporaries, he could uuderstaud his words and 

1 According to the Shi-chi chap. 03 p. llv (Biography of Han Fei Tsc) the 
emperor said: — "Alas! If 1 could see this man, I would be willing to live and 
die with liiiii I " 



reflect upon what he said, [f tlie book had been so profound and 
excjuisite, that he wanted a teaclicM- to comprehend it, he would 
have flung- it to the ground, and it was no use sighing. * 

An author wishes his work to be intelligible, but difficult to 
write, and lie does not care, if it be hard to grasp, but easy to 
write. In lectures one aims at perspicuity, that the hearers can 
l"()ll()\v, and does not affect obscurity and ambiguity to baffle the 
readers. Menclm knew an intelligent man by the sparkling of his 
eyes.- One learns to know what a text is worth by its lucidity. 

The book of Wang ('h' ung is of another type than the usual 
writings. The following objection might be raised against it: ― 

In literature it is of importance to conform to tlie public 
feeling, and not to be in opposition to received ideas. Then not 
one out of a hundred readers will find anything to blame, and 
not one out of a thousand hearers will take exception. Therefore 
Kuan Tse^ said that, where somebody is speaking in a lioiise, the 
audience must fill the whole house, and, when lie speaks in a hall, 
the entire hall should be full. Now Wang Ck iing's arguments are 
not in accordance with public opinion. Consequently liis words 
controvert all common ideas, and do not tally with the general 

I reply that in arguing, the essential thing is truth, not 
elegance, that tlie facts should at all events be correct, and that 
consensus is not the highest aim. Investigating a question, one dis- 
cusses the pros and cons, liow would it be possible not to deviate 
from old ideas and perhaps offend the ears of the common hearer? 
W hen the general feeling is wrong, it cannot be followed. One 
denounces and discards that which is false, and keeps and establishes 
that which is true. If we were to go by majority, and conform to 
the public feeling, 、ve could only follow the good old rules and pre- 
cedents, and recite them over and over again, but how could there 
be any discussion ? 

1 Han Fei Tse was sent as envoy from his native State {Han) to Ch'in Shih 
Huang Ti, who first appreciated him very much and wished to appoint him to some 
high post. By the intrigues of Li Sse, however, he was induced to imprison him, 
and to condemn him to death. The emperor afterwards repented, and cancelled the 
death warrant, but is was too late, for meanwhile Han Fei Tse had taken poison. 
(Cf. p. 170.) 

2 Cf. Chap. XXXU. 

3 The philosopher Kuan Chtny. 


Lun-Hciig: A. Biographical. 

When Confucius was attending the court and sitting next to 
Duke Ai of L", the duke lav cured liini with a peach and millet. 
Confucius first ate the millet and then the peach. This, we must 
admit, was tlie right order of eating the two courses. Tlie cour- 
tiers, however, all covered their mouth and laughed. They had, 
for a long time, been used to another custom. Now 1, in fact, 
resemble Confiicms eating the two dishes in tlie order described 
above. Ordinary people take exception like the courtiers laugliing 
in tlieir sleeves. 

Beautiful festive songs were considered as too melancholic, in 
Cheng ^ and pantomimes, at great celebrations, found no favour in Chao. 

The live Leading Princes 2 declined to cast a look upon the 
Canons of Yao and Sliun, and Chi and Meng ^ would not read the 
works of Confucius and Me Ti. Plans for securing tlie peace in times 
of danger are scoffed at in side-alleys, and schemes of reform ridi- 
culed by common people. If there were au exquisite dish, vulgar 
people would not taste it, though Yi Ti and Yi Ya^ might eat it 
with the greatest relish, and if there were a precious jade-stone, 
ordinary people would throw it away, whereas Pien Ho ^ would 
hoard it up as a treasure. Who would be right, who wrong, and 
wlio could be trusted? Propriety and common usage are always 
in opposition, when has it not been so? When Duke Wen of Lu 
infringed the rule of sacrifices,^ five men resisted him. 

Great scholars will never give up researches of the above 
mentioned kind, and common people will always dislike tliem. And 
so will the savants eujoy and appreciate books, which bewilder the 
masses, and wliicli the narrow-minded will ilee. 

Wang CKung's book cannot be free from imperfection. Some 
say that in speaking he does not choose the words, nor in writing, 
the phrases. Compositious must be tastefully written, and discussions 

1 In Chmy licentious music, but not tlie serious songs oi' the Book of Odes 
were appreciated. * 

2 Tlie five leaders of tlie empire, the most powerful princes during the 
7th cent. b.c. to wit: ― Duke Iluan of Clii^ Duke Wm of (J/dn, Duke Hmmg oi' S(iU(/, 
Duke <Jhuany of (Jh'u, and Duke Mu of Ch'in. They were more bent on conquest than 
interested in the moral laws expounded in the Canons of Yao and Shun in the Shu-king. 

3 The chief's of two lioble families in Lu, contemporaries of Confucius. 
i Vid. p. 09. 

5 Cr. p. 8!). 

f' Duke U V" placed the tablet of his deceased fatlier above that of his uncle 
ill llic ancestral temple. The latter, Duke Min, was a youiiger brother of Duke 
//.、/, but he preceded in reign. For more details vid. T'so-ckuan, Duke Wm 2nd year. 



ingeniously (V)nductetl. When sur.U words strike the ear, tliey cause 
a pleasaut feeling iii the heart, and when the eye falls on writing, 
tlie hand does not lay tlie book aside again. Such disputations are 
always listeued to, and excellent (•impositions always appreciated. 
Now, since this new book cliiel'ly consists of com pari so us and 
strictures on the depravity of the age, and does not praise what 
is good, it does not please the reader. The tunes played by tlie 
music-master K iiang ' were always lull of feeling, and the delicacies 
prepared by Yi Ti and Yi Ya were never tasteless. When a clever 
mau writes a book, it is without a Haw. Lii Shih ^ and Huai Nan 
made an advertiseuient <m the market gates, and the readers did 
not iiud fault with one word in their books. ^ Now the Liui-hmg 
does not possess the beauties of these two books. It is loug enough, 
but open to objections in many respects. 

Ill reply 1 beg to state that he who clierislies veracity does 
not trouble much about beauty, and that regulating the conduct, 
lie does not polish Lis words. J.uxuriaut grass has often abund- 
ance of blossoms, au(l mighty forests have many dry branches. 
The purport of words is to clearly show the nature of things, 
how can they be polished and above all censure? Saving a mau 
from fire or out of water, we do not care, whether we do it in a 
beautiful style or not, ami, when we debate on a question, our 
words must not necessarily be ingeaious. Plunging into a lake 
to seize turtles, we have no time to think, whether we place our 
leet riglit, and catching dragons in deep water, we have no time 
to care for the position of our bauds. 

In spite of bad style and faulty terms tlie meaning may be 
excellent and far reaching sometiiiies, and sweet words and beautiful 
expressions give often a veiy pour SL'iise. When a thousand chiiuy 
of grain are cleansed, more tliau iialf are husks, and examining- a 
hundred thousand cash, one finds tliat the broken coins exceed ten 
thousand. Fine soups are often insipid, and tlie best jewels have 
their Haws. A slip-shod production may possess great beauties, 
and a great artist do very second- rate work. Every discussion 
has its weak points, and iu the ablest production some deficiencies 
can be detected. 

1 The music-master of the Duke of Cliin (cf. Chap. XVII). 

2 Lii Pu Wei, the author of the Lii Shih ch'un-ch'iu. 

3 It is related of Lii Fu Wei that he placed a copy of his work in the market 
place and offered a reward of a thousand vUin to any one who could alter one 
character iu it. The same is not known of II, (ai Xan Tse. 


Lun - Hcng : A. Biographical. 

Golden words come from noble houses, and foul pi'odurtions 
from poor families, they think. — Huai Nan Tse and La Shih ^ did 
not encounter any difficulties, because they were descendants of rich 
houses and of higli rank. Since they were noble, they could well 
advertise on the market place, and being so wealthy, they could 
easily make the alternate promise of a thousand chin. Their readers 
were intimidated and in awe, and would never have ventured to 
criticise one character, even if it had been quite out of place. 

When Wang Cheung's book was completed, it was compared 
by some with the works of the ancients, and found to be quite 
different from tlie writings of previous authors. Some hold that the 
book may be said to be written partly in a slovenly style. Some- 
times it is terse, at others diffuse, sometimes concise, sometimes 
prolix. When a problem is being discussed or a question inves- 
tigated, the author is too summary or too loquacious, half sweet, 
half sour. The Classics he does not resemble, with the semi-classics 
lie does not agree, nor does he harmonize with either Yang C/ieng 
Tie Chang or Yang Tse Yiin.'^ Since he is unlike the ancient authors, 
how can he be considered a good writer, or his book be reputed 
an able production? 

I answer that, if anybody puts on an alien appearance forcibly 
to be like somebody else, his own shape is lost, and if he changes 
his style to resemble others, lie loses liis peculiar character. The 
sons of a hundred persons have not the same parents. Being all 
born in diilerent families, they cannot be similar. Each one distin- 
guishes himself by his peculiar gifts. If writings could only then 
be considered good, wlien tliey are conform to a certain standard, 
this would be like substituting- one workman for another and de- 
claring liis work to be a master-piece, provided that in hewing he 
did not cut his own hand. 

All literary men have their own specialties. The one polishes 
liis phrases to produce an elegant composition, the other combats 
; I II errors to ('s(al)lisli the truth. Tlieir ultimate aims are the 
sairir'. and tlic wurds follow ol" t licnisclvcs. Tlins 1 li(>. (Iccds of 
llic Fiv<' Kiii|K'r()i's were not dillcnMil, nnd tlierc was no conflict 
between tlic notions ol" the TJiree 】(idei's. Beautiful looks are not 

1 Both were princes. 

2 Vid. p. m. 



the same, but their aspect is always pleasing to the eye : senti- 
mental airs are not identical, but their music is always gratifying 
to tlie ear. Wines have different flavours, but tliey all inebriate, 
tlie tastes of various cereals vary, but tliey all appease our hunger. 
If conformity to old standard be required of a literary production, 
then we would be entitled to expect that SI tun also should have 
eye-brows with eight colours ^ and Yil eyes witli double pupils.- 

Wang CKungs book is very voluminous. Some say that in 
writing the chief tiling is to be brief and clear, and that in speaking 
one must be short and plain. The words of a good debater are 
succinct, but to the point, tlie style of a good writer is concise, 
but perspicuous. Now Wang Ch ung's new work contains more than 
ten thousand sentences. For a reader it is impossible to work 
through sucli an enormous mass, and there are so many chapters, 
that tliey cannot all be transmitted. The author of so much bad 
stuff may well be called a fool. Short sentences are easy to enun- 
ciate, whereas a bulky work presents great difficulties. Gems are 
few, stones many : that "wliicli occurs in great number, is not pre- 
cious. Dragons are rare, fish numerous: that wliicli is of rare 
occurence, is justly deemed divine. 

I admit that there is such a saying. Concise language is not 
louii^-, but beautiful language must not be concise. If tliey are 
useful to the world, a liiindred chapters do no liarm, while one para- 
graph, if useless, may be superfluous. If there are several things, 
all useful, the longer rank before the shorter. Who is ric】ier, he who 
has piled up a thousand chin, or lie wlio possesses a liundred? 

Longer works are preferable to shorter ones, and a small 
amount of wealth is better than poverty. Most people have not 
a single book, I possess a hundred chapters : others have not one 
character, I have more than ten thousand sentences. Who is tlie 

Now they do not say that my words are wrong, but that 
they are too many: they do not say tliat the world does not like 
good tilings, but that it cannot take tliem all in. The reason why 
my book cannot be so concise is that for building' many houses a 
small ground would not be sufficient, and tliat for the registration 
of a large populace few registers would be inadequate. At present, 
the errors are so many, that the words necessary to point out the 
truth, show what is right, and controvert what is false, cannot 
well be brief and succinct. 

1 Like 】'ao (cf. Chap. XXIV). 

2 As Shun had (loc. cit.). 


Lun -Heng: A. Biographical. 

Hau Fei Tses work is like the branch of a tree. The chapters 
are joined together by tens, and the sentences count by ten 
thousands. For a lare'e body the dress cannot be narrow, and if 
there be many subjects, the text must not be too summary. A great 
variety of subjects requires abundance of Avords. Tii a large extent 
of water, there are many fish, in an emperor's capital, there is plenty 
of grain, and on the market of a metropolis, there is a throng of 

My book 】nay be volumiuous, but the subjects treated are 
manifold. T ai Kung Wartg} in ancient times and recently Timg Chung 
Shu - produced books containing more tlian a hundred chapters. 
My book also contains more than a hundred chapters. Those 
who contend tliat they are too many, only mean to say that 
the author is of low origin, and that the readers cannot but take 
exception to it. 

When we compare a river, whose waters overflow the banks, 
with others, which is the biggest? And, when the cocoons of 
a certain species of worms are especially heavy and big, which 
worms yield most silk? 

Wang Cli ung was not lucky in his official career,- and only 
wrote books and this autobiography. Some one might find fault 
with him, arguing thus : 

"The important thing is always that a man of great talent 
should make a good career. When lio finds employment, and 】iis 
words are listened to, lie can distinguish liiniself by his work, and 
thus rise to liigh lionour. Now, you are living in misery, and 
your career has heen spoiled. You had no opportunity of trying 
your talents in practice, or usinjs; your streng-tli in the fulfilment of 
official (luti(*s. Therefore you only committed your speculations to 
writing and made your notes. Wlmt use are your beautiful words 
to yourself, and wliat aim arc you pursiiinij; Avitli your extensive 
writings? ,, , 

Nobody was ever more talented than Confucius, and yet his 
talents were not appreciated. lie was expelled, and a tree felled 
over him. He liad to liast^n the Avasliiii^' of liis rice ^ and was 

1 T'ai KwH/ Want/ is tlie full <'i| 屮 dlativc of Wen Wanff's minister, usually 
called 7' ai /、W?'/, on whom of. Cliap. XX XIX. 

2 Cf, p. '?, 9 and Chap. XXXVII. 

3 When forced to leave 67///, (Vid. IMmcius Hk. V, 】)t. II, ('hap. I, 4, Legge 
Vol. 11, p. 247.) 



surrounded. TTis traces were obliterated, he was tormented bv 
liuniier bet\veen CK M and T'sat\ and his disciples looked starved.^ 
Now, mv talents do not come near those of Confucius, but my 
liardsliips do not equal his. Am T to bo despised tliorefoiv? 

Besides the successful are not always clever, or the distressed, 
simpletons. The lucky win, and the unlucky lose. With a liberal 
fate and good fortune, even a vulgar person becomes noble and 
g、enteel, with a nig'jLi'ardly fate and bad fortune, the most remarkable 
man remains Avretchecl and miserable. If talents and virtue were to 
be measured l)y success, then the great lords invested witli the 
domain of a town, and living on the soil, would all be wise men. 

Confucliis and Me Ti were noble of themselves, but their rank 
was low. If, therefore, people are living in pure spheres, but do 
black deeds, or if they liave a yearly income of a thousand cJiung 
to live upon, but not a single accomplishment, we can onlv yniile. 
Provided that our virtue be high and our name untarnished, tlien 
our office may be Ioav and our income meagre, it is not the fault 
of our talents, and we should not feel oppressed by it. 

Scholars would like to share the liut Avith Hsienr but not to 
be put on a level with T'se,^ they would gladly wander about 
with Po y/, but decline to associate with robber Che, Great scholars 
have other ambitions than their people. Therefore their fame is 
not til at of the world. Tlieir bodies decay like grass and trees, 
but their glory shines as long' as the sun and the moon send tlieir 
rays. Tlieir couditiou may be as poor as that of Confucius, provided 
only tliat tlieir writings rank with those of Yang Hs'mng. That is 
my ideal. Outward success, but a limited knowledge, a high post, 
but little virtue that is the ambition of others. I would consider 
it a bondage. 

It' somebody lias the luck to be heard witli liis ad vice, and 
lives in honour and well being, all this is gone after a liiindred 
years like other tilings. His name does not come down to the 
next generation, and not a word from his liand is left in any 
document. He has liacl stores full of emoluments perhaps, in the 

1 Cf. Chap. XL. 

- Ihipn 二 Yuan S -、 a disciple of Confucius^ noted for his contempt of wordly 
advantages. Made governor of a town, he declined his official allowance (-lwa/pc'A*fVI,3) 
( hnang Tse makes him live in a mud hut. He contrasts him with T W, another 
follower of Confucius, who came driving up to his door in a fine chariot and in a 
white robe lined with purple. 

3 T'se = Ttian 31u r.、'V or T、e Kung, a disciple of Confucius, who became n 
high official, and very wealthy (vid. Chap. XXXI and XXXIII). He was a swell, 
just the reverse of Hden. 


Lun -Heng: A. Biographical. 

realms of literature and virtue he leaves no riches. That is not 
what I prize. Vast virtue of the highest excellence, abundance of 
extensive knowledge, a pencil dripping with characters like rain, and 
an overflowing spring of words, I'icli talents, a wonderful erudition, 
generous deeds, and a noble mind, with such qualities a man's body 
may belong to one generation, his name will be transmitted for a 
thousand years. That seems extraordinary and desirable to me, 

Wang Cli iing is from a siniplo family, in wliicli he stands 
quite alone. A caviller might say: ― 

" Your ancestors have not left you a treasure of pure virtue, 
nor a collection of literary works. You may yourself write the 
most brilliant essays, you liave no basis to stand upon, and there- 
fore no daim to our admiration." 

" When a force bursts upon us quite suddenly, not by degrees, 
we call it a phenomenon. Wlien a creature is born from quite 
dissimilar parents, we call it a wonder. When sometluiig' quite 
unusual appears all at once, it is regarded as a supernatural appear- 
ance, and when something cliliereiit from anything else quite ab- 
ruptly comes forth, it is termed a miracle." 

"Who are your ancestors? Their names have not been recorded 
in former times. You did not spring from a learned family, whose 
members liavo already walked tlie path of literature, and you write 
disquisitions of several thousand or ten thousand sentences. This 
must be considered a supernatural plieiiomenon. How could we 
appreciate sucli writings, or think them able productions? " ^ 

I beg to reply tliat a bird without a pedigree is a plicenix, 
an animal witliout a family, a unicorn, a man without an ancestry, 
a sage, and a thing witliout a peer, a jewel. And so it is with 
men of great talents, who are browbeaten and viewed with dis- 
favour by their age. Scholars of worth appear single, and precious 
things grow solitary. How could literature be inherited? If a 
man could learn to become a sage, then tlie water of the Feng 
river ^ would have a source, ami auspicious grain an old stem. 

1 The Chinese are in awe of, but do not like wonders, miracles, monsters, 
in short nil that is against the regular course of nature. So they are prejudiced 
against Wa/fc/ Ch'ung, because lie is a homo /w"/.s'. Not being a descendant from 
a literary or a noble family, he .should not attempt to rise above the average of 
lii.s fellow-citizens. 

2 The source of the Fctu/^ an affluent of the Wei in She" '4 is well knowii. 
I presume that for "F— river" 、:豐 力〈 wc ought to i-ead " Wive Spritig " 旁 ^ 
Tlie phonetic element for /'V/?,y and Li "Wine" is very similar, and the Wine Springs 
are often mentioned as auspicious oineus in connection with pluriiixes, unicorns, and 
auspicious grain. 



When a remarkable scholar appears and puts forward his 
noble doctrines, lie does not fall under the general rule, and his 
capacity cannot be measured by the bushel. Therefore events which 
seldom happen are recorded on tablets and books, and rare things 
engraved on bronze vases. The Five Emperors did not rise in one 
generation, and Yi Yin ^ and T aiKung Wang ^ did not issue from 
one family. There was a distance of thousand Li between them, 
and one lived several hundred years after the other. When scholars 
of note quietly develop their marvellous faculties, they do not be- 
come famous as descendants of noble lines. 

The calf of a black cow may be brown, iliis does not affect 
the nature of tlie animal. The ancestors of a scholar may be 
coarse, provided that lie himself is pure, it lias no influence upon 
his character. K un^ was wicked, and Yil a sage, Sou^ was per- 
verse, and Shun divine. Po Niu ^ was visited with a horrible dis- 
ease, and Chung Kung^ was clean and strong. Yen Lii'^ was vulgar 
and mean, and Yen Hid outvied all his companions. Confucius and 
Me Ti had stupid ancestors, and they themselves were sages. The 
Yang family had not been successfu], when Yang Tse Yiln rose like 
a star, aud the house of Huan had been tolerably well off, until 
Huan Chiln Shan^ took his brilliant flight. A man must have been 
imbued with more than the ordinary dose of the original fluid to 
become an able writer. 

In the third year of Yuan-ho^^ Wang Ch ung emigrated to Tan - 
yang,iQ (Jhii 卜 chiang,u and Lu-chiang in the province of Yang-chou,〜3 and 
was appointed sub-prefect. His abilities were small, and his office 

1 Minister of T'ang^ the founder of the Shang dynasty. 

2 Cf. p. 78. 

3 Yu s father. 

4 Ku Sou, Shun 8 father. 

5 A disciple of Confucixis^ who suffered from leprosy (cf. Chap. XXXIII). 

6 Another disciple of Confucius', a relation of Po i\7w, both belonging to 
the Jan clan, 

7 Ten Hut's father. 

8 Cf. p. 39 and Chap. XXXVU. 

9 86 A.D. 

10 Under the Ha" a circuit comprising parts of Kiangm and AnhuL 

11 A circuit in Anhui, 

12 Another circuit in Anhui. 

13 A very large province under the Han dynasty, comprising nearly the whole 
territory of the modern provinces of Kiangsa^ Anhui, Kiang-si^ Fukicn, and Chekiuftg. 

Lun - lieng. 6 


Lun - Heng : A. Biographical. 

was important. His chief duties were in connection witli official 
correspondence. All plans of writing anything lie had given up 
for many years. In tlie second year of Chang-ho,^ his business in 
the province ceased. He lived at home, and gradually advanced 
in age, till he readied about seventy years. Then lie gave up his 
official carriage, and his official career was definitely closed. He 
could not help it. He had many annoyances, and his body felt 
the infirmities of age. His liair grew Avliite, his teeth fell out, he 
became older from day to day, and his comrades dispersed. He 
had nothing to rely upon, was too poor to nurse himself, and had 
no joy left. But time went slowly on, the keng and /ising years ^ 
came to an end, but thougli lie was afraid that his deatli 、vas 
near at hand, he was still full of silly ideas. Then lie wrote a 
book on Macrobiotics 3 in sixteen chapters. 

To keep himself alive, lie cherished the vital fluid. As a 
stimulant for the appetite lie used wine. Closing eyes and ears 
against external influences, he spared liis energy as a means of self- 
protection. Using medicines lie kept up his forces, and by following' 
this metliod lie hoped to prolong 】iis days. For a while lie did 
not age, but when it was too late, there was no return. 

This book was left as a guide to posterity. But the duration 
of human life is limited. Men like animals live for a while and 
die. We can only remember the years gone by, who can order 
them to stand still? We must go down to the yellow sources, and 
become earth and ashes. From Huang Ti and T ang down to tlie 
CK in and Han many have been guided by the holy doctrine and 
have found the truth by their genius, just like a scales and bright 
like a mirror, yet young and old they have lived and died, of old 
and now all have been included. Life cannot be prolonged, alas! 

1 88 A.D. 

2 The cyclical years keng-yin : 90 a.d. and Jmng-mao : 01 a.d. 

3 Yang hsing shu. 

Replies in Self-Defense, 


Replies in Self-Defense {Tui-tso). 

Some one might put tlie following question: The worthies 
and sages were not born for nothing; decidedly their minds were 
required. How is it that from Confucius and Me Ti down to Hsiin 
Tse 1 and Mencius they all acted as teachers and left their works 
to posterity ? 

Our reply is that the sages wrote the Classics, and the 
worthies composed their records. They rectified the depraved 
customs, and enjoined upon the people to revert to truth and sin- 
cerity. The thirteen thousand chapters of the Six Departments of 
Literature ^ increased the good and diminished the evil, sometimes 
restricting, sometimes expanding, and urging on the stragglers, with 
a view to leading them back from their by-paths into the right way. 

Confucius wrote tlie Cli un-cli in in consequence of the depra- 
vity of the people of Chou. He, therefore, established the smallest 
merit, and blamed tlie slightest wrong; lie removed every disorder, 
and re-established propriety. The ways of men as well as those 
of the sovereign were well ordered by him. To check extravagant 
and mean practices one must take every precaution, and use every 
means. When a dyke breaks, and no measures are taken, there will 
be a disastrous inundation. When a net opens, and is not shut 
again, the animals caught in it are lost. Had the ways of Chou 
not degenerated, the people would not have been uncultured, and 
had the people not been uncultured, the Cli un-cK iu would not have 
been written. 

If the doctrines of Yang Chu and Me ! TP had not perverted 
the traditions, the records of Mencius would not have been pub- 
lished. Had the Han State not been small and weak, and its 
system of government corrupt, Han Fei Tse' s book would not have 
appeared.* Had Kao Tsu not contested that the conquerors of 

1 The philosopher Hmn Tse : Sun ChHng, cf. Chap. XXXII. 

2 Vid. Chap. XXXVII and tlie Catalogue of Literature , Han-shu chap. 30. 

3 The philosophers of egoism and altruism, both combated by Mmckts. 

* The philosopher Han Fei T.、e was the son of a Duke of the Han State 
iu Shanid. 



Lun-Heng : A. Biographical. 

empires had not alighted from their horses nor changed their 
martial habits, Lu Chia would not have written his memorials, i If 
the truth had not been lost everywhere, and scientific researches 
not been in a state of great confusion, the discussions of Huan 
Tan would not have come forth. 

Ergo, when worthies and sages write something, they do not 
do so for nothing, but have tlieir good reasons. Thus their writ- 
ings are by no means purposeless, but conducive to reforms, and 
their reforms to re-establish the right principles. 

Accordingly the Han created the censorate to review books 
and examine their contents. Tung Chung Shu wrote a book on 
magical arts, in which he spoke much about calamitous events as 
being caused by the faults of the government. When the book 
was complete, and tlie text revised, it was presented to the Im- 
perial Court of the Hon. Chu Fu Yen from jealousy slandered the 
book in a memorial to the throne. The emperor handed Tung Chung 
Shu over to the tribunal, and the judges declared that he was very 
stupid, and deserved to die, but the emperor pardoned him. Hsiao 
Wu Ti did not puuisli Tung Chung Shu for liis remarks on calam- 
ities, on the contrary, he honoured him. How much more would 
lie have done so for Tung Chung S/nis inoffensive utterances, for 
his researches into the nature of the fundamental principles and 
liis collection of old and true sayings? 

As long as a wise man holds an official position in this world, 
he is perfectly loyal to his sovereign, and propagates his reforms 
to enlighten tlie government. When he has retired, lie still teaches 
and criticises to rouse the simple-minded who have gone astray. 
They cannot find their way back to the right patli , tlieir prin- 
ciples are shallow, and tlieir doings wrong. Unless we scholars 
liurry to tlieir rescue, they come to perdition, and do not awake 
from tlieir slumber. This lias prompted me to write the Lun-hSng, 

1 An allusion to an event in the life of Lu Chia, narrated in his biography, 
Shi-chi chap. 97 p. 7. When Lni Chia had returned from his successful mission to the 
King of Yueliy whom he induced to acknowledge the suzerainty of the flan, Kao 
Tjiu conferred a liigh rank upon him. Subseijuently, when relating his adventures, 
Lu Chia would always refer to poetry and history. The emperor displeased with 
these utterances, told him that he had won his laurels on horseback, why must he 
make such a fuss about literature. Then Lu ( 'hia showed him, how former con- 
querors had lost the empire again, if they had not consolidated their power by the 
arts of peace. This conversation with the emperor lead to the roinposition of a 
series ol' memorials, in which La ('hia developed his ideas about government. This 
collection of ineinorials received the title " New Words ,,, Ihi!i-yu, cf. Chap. XXXVII. 

Replies !ii Self-Defense, 


In a great many books reality has no place left: falsehood 
and immorality triumph over truth and virtue. Therefore, unless 
such lies be censured, specious arguments cannot be suppressed, 
and, as long as they spread, truth does not reign. For this reason 
the Lun-heng weighs the words, whether they be light or heavy, 
and holds up a balance for truth and falsehood. It does not trouble 
about polishing the phrases and embellishing the style, or consider 
this of great importance. 

It has its raison d'etre in the innate human weakness. Con- 
sequently it criticises tlie common people most vigorously. By 
nature these people are very prone to strange words and to the 
use of falsehoods. Why? Because simple truisms do not appeal to 
the imagination, whereas elegant inventions puzzle the hearers, and 
impress tlieir minds. Therefore, men of genius, who are Ibnd of 
discussions, will magnify aud exaggerate the truth, and use flowery 
language. Masters of style, they simply invent things, and tell 
stories, which never happened. Their hearers believe in them, and 
are never tired of repeating them. Tlieir readers take these stories 
for facts, and one transmits them to tlie other in an unbroken cliain 
so, til at at last the words are engraved on bamboo and silk. Being- 
repeated over and over again, these stories impose even upon the 
wise. May be that even His Majesty lioiiours such a man as a 
teacher, and spreads liis forgeries, and that magistrates and wearers 
of red girdle pendants ' all read these inventions. 

He who knows liow to discriminate between trutli aud false- 
hood, must feel a pang at it; "why should he not speak? Mencius was 
grieved that the discussions of Yang Clni and Me Ti did great harm 
to the cause of Confucianism, therefore lie used plain and straight- 
forward language to recommend what was right, and to reject what 
was wrong. People fancied that he was a controversialist, but 
Menckis replied, " How should I be a controversialist ? I cannot do 
otherwise." - 

Now 1 also cannot do otherwise. Lies and folly appear in 
the garb of truth, veracity aud sincerity are superseded by im- 
posture. People are in a state of apathy, right and wrong are not 
determined, purple and vermilion confounded,^ and tiles mixed up 
with jade-stones. As regards my feelings, how could my heart 
endure such a state ? The lackey in Wei riding the outer horse 

1 Princes and nobles. 

2 Mencius Bk. IH, Pt. II, chap. IX, 1. 

3 Vermilion is regarded as a primary colour, and much liked, purple as 
secondary, and not much esteemed. 


Liin - Heng : A. Biographical. 

transgressed his functions, crying out for the carriage. His sym- 
pathy carried him away, for he was apprehending a danger for 
his prince. ^ Critics commiserate the world, and feel sorry for its 
deceptions, a sentiment similar to that of the outrider in Wei, A 
sorrowful mind and a melancholy spirit disturb the tranquil fluid 
in our breast, which tells upon our years, shortens our span, 
and is not beneficial to our life. It is a greater misfortune tlian 
that sufl'ered by Yen Hui? and against tlie rules of Huang Ti and 
Lao Tse, and nothing which men like to do. But there was no 
help, therefore I wrote the Lim-heng, Its style is indillerent, but 
the meaning all right, the diction bad, but the feeling good. Tlie 
Cheng-wu " treats of the system of government; all the chapters of 
tlie Luug-heng may be read by ordinary people, for it is like writ- 
ings of other scholars. 

As for the Nine Inventions and the Three Exaggerations, and 
the essays on Death and on Ghosts,^ tlie world has long been led 
astray by the errors exposed therein, and people did not become 
aw are of it. 

When a ruler goes wrong, representations must be addressed 
to the highest place, when the citizens are blindfold, one speaks 
to them, if this be of effect, their leader will learn also. 1 fer- 
vently desire to rouse tlie misguided minds, and to teach tliem, how 
to tell tlie full from the hollow. As soon as the diflerence of 
reality and emptiness is fully understood, specious arguments will 
be discarded, and then the progress made in true and real know- 
ledge will daily increase. 

Some say that the sages create, whereas the worthies relate, 
and that, if worthies create, it is wrong. The Lun-heng and the 
Cheng-wu are creations, tliey think. These works are neither crea- 
tions nor relations. The Five Classics can be regarded as crea- 
tions. The History of the Grand Annalist,^ the Introduction of 
Liu Tse Cheng and the Records of Pan Shu Pi? may be called 

1 Cf. p. 154. 

2 The favourite disciple of Confackix^ who died very young, cf. Chap. XXXIII. 

3 Another of Wqjkj Ch'uny's works, which has been lost. 

4 Lan-hmg N. 16-24, N. 25-27, N. (32 and 65 (cf. p. 48 seq. and p. 57 seq.). 
6 The Shi-chi. 

6 The Hdn-lisu, 

7 Pan Shu P i = Pan Piao, the father of the historian Pan Ku, He also was 
devoted to the .study of history, and intended to continue the Shi - ch" which was 
finally done by his sou. 

Replies in Self-Defense. 


relations, aucl the "New Reflections " ^ of Hiiwi Chun Shan and the 
"Critical Reflections " ^ of Tsou Po Chi^^ discussions. Now the Lun- 
lieng aud the Clieng-wu are like the two Reflections of Iluan Chiin 
Shan aud Tsou Po Chi, and not what they call creations. 

To produce something new that did not exist in the past, 
as T'sang Hsiek ^ invented writing and lisi Chung chariots, is creat- 
ing. The Yi-king says of Fu Hsi that lie created the eight dia- 
grams. They did not exist before, and Fu Hsi made them/' hence 
the term creating is used. Wen Wang evolved these eight pictures, 
and brought their number up to sixty-four, which is called am- 
plifying. To say that the composition of the Lun-lieng is similar to 
that of the sixty-four figures is not correct either. In regard to the 
sixty-four diagrams, these figures were increased by an amplification 
of their forms, and their number was thus augmented. Now in the 
Lun-Jieng the current literature is taken up with the object of defining 
right and wrong and distinguishing between truth and falsehood. It 
is not an original production of something that did not exist pre- 
viously. The Confucianists take tlie sayings of former teachers and 
criticise them, as clerks subject the decisions of the lord chief-justice 
to a new examination. If the term creating be applied to the Lun-hSng, 
would the same word be used of the Confucianists and the clerks? 

Ill tlieir reports to the throne and their memorials the me- 
morialists use to propose useful measures. There is always the 
desire to help the government. Now the creators of classical works 
are like those memorialists. Tlieir words proceed from the inner- 
most heart, and it is tlieir hand which reduces them to writing. 
Both cases are identical. In regard to those who address the em- 
peror one speaks of memorialising, whereas for those records an- 
other word has been adopted viz, writing. 

During the first years of Chien-ch、t,i there was a great dearth 
ill Chimg-chou, The people from Yin-cliuan^ and Ju-ncm," had to 

1 Cf. Chap. XXXVU. 

2 Chien-lun. 

3 Cf. Chap. XXXVII. 

4 A mythical personage. 

5 Another legendary person, who is said to have been a descendant of Huang 
Ti and director of chariots under Yii, 

(; Vid. Chap. XXXVI, where Wang ChUing maintains that Fu Hsi did not 
make the diagrams, but received them in a supernatural way. 

7 The first year of the emperor Chang Ti: 76 a.d. 

8 An old name for Honan. 

9 A circuit in Anhui. 

10 A place in Honan. 


Lun-Heng : A. Biographical. 

leave their homes, and were scattered in all directions. His Holy 
Majesty felt very much distressed, and many edicts were issued. 
The writer of the Lan-lih-ig presented a report ^ to the prefect, 
urging that all dissipations and extravagancies should be prohibited 
in order to provide lor the time of need. His suggestions were 
not accepted however. Pie went home and entitled the draft of 
liis report " Provisions for Times of Want." 

When the grain is used for the destination of wine, robbery 
is rampant, and as long as there is much drunkeiiess, robberies 
never cease. In a memorial sent to the prefect the writer proposed 
that the use of spirits should be interdicted, and afterwards gave 
to this report the name " Prohibition of Spirits." From this it may 
be seen that the writing of the classical authors is like that of 
memorialists. Those reports are regarded as independent creations 
presented to the emperor. Reports and memorials to the throne 
are always creations. 

In the Ch eng of Chiu , the T ao-ivu of Ch'u,^ and the Ch' un- 
ci i iu of Lu persons and things are all different. As regards the 
diagrams cli wn and k'un of the Yiking, the yua、, of the Cli un-cli iu 
and the mystical principle of Yang Tse Yiln, they use diverse terms 
for divination and time periods. From this we may infer that the 
Lun-heng and the Cheng-ivu have the same aim as the memorials of 
T' ang Lin and the essays of Ku Yung. 

The Han time is very rich in literary talents, and the number 
of essays is especially large. Yang Climg Tse Chang produced the 
Yueh-ching'^ and Yang Tse Yiln the T' ai-liman-cldng. These two books 
were current in the court and read in the side-halls. The impression 
they caused was enormous, they were not relations but creations, 
and people doubted, whether the ingenious authors were not sages. 
The court found nothing to blame in t.h(、in. Now, fancy the Lim- 
iting with its minute discussions and tlio rough arguments, intended 
to explain the common errors and elucidate the right and wrong 
principles so, that future generations can clearly see the difference 
between truth and falsehood ! Lest all this be lost, I have com- 
mitted it to the writing- tablets : remarks on chapters and passages 
of the classics of our ancestors, and on queer sayings of former 

1 A report for the emperor, which Wany ( 'h nin;, not being of sufficiently 
liigh rank, could not present directly. 

2 The oflicial cliroiiicles of these two States. (Cf. Chap. XXXVI.) 

3 A term employed for tlie first year ol' a sovereign, also denoting tlie original 
fluid of nature. 

* The " Classic of Music." 

Replies in Self-Defense. 


masters. I offer critical remarks and reject many common traditions. 
The delusion caused by such traditions and the spread of so many 
lying books give endless pain to the knowing. Confucius said: ― "When 
a man is touched by poetry, he cannot remain silent. When I am 
moved, I cannot keep quiet, but must speak." 

Jade is being confounded with stones. People cannot distinguish 
it, as for instance tlie inspector of works in Ch'u took jade I'or a 
stone, and suddenly ordered Plea Ho to have his foot cut off. ' Right 
is being turned into wrong-, and falsehood into truth. How is it 
possible not to speak of it? 

As the common traditions are full of exaggerations, so the 
common books teem with falsehoods. Tsou Yen e. g. pretends that 
our world 2 is one continent, and that beyond the four seas there 
are still nine other continents like onr world. ^ Huai Nan Tse says 
in bis book that, when Kung Rung, fighting for the throne with 
CI man Ilsil, was not victorious, he ran against Mount Pu-c/iou in his 
wrath so, that he caused the " Pillar of Heaven " to break, and 
the confines of the earth to be smashed.^ In Yao's time ten suns 
appeared simultaneously. Yao shot an arrow at nine of thein.^ 
During the battle fought by the Duke of Lu-yang ^ the sun went 
dovvn. Swinging his spear he beckoned to the sun, when lie came 
back. There are a great many books and records of a similar 
nature in the world, Trutli and reality are drowned in a flood of 
inventions and fabrications. Can we remain silent, when our heart 
swells to overflowing, and the pencil trembles in our hand? 

Discussing a question we must examine into it with our mind, 
and demonstrate it by facts, and, if there be any inventions, proofs 
must be given. As the history of the Grand Annalist testifies, 
Hsii Yu'' did not hide, nor did Tan, the crown-prince of Yen, cause 
tlie sun to revert to the meridian. Nobody can read these pas- 
sages without applauding. 

1 Cf. p. 113. 

2 China. 

3 Cf. Chap. XIX. 

4 Vid. Chap. XIX. 

5 Cf. Chap. XX. 

6 A city in Honan. We learn troin the h'.m-hmy V, 6v. {Ivari-lim) that this 
battle was fought by Duke H.^iang of Lii against Han. This prince reigned from 
572 to 541. Huai JSan Tsr VI, lv., however, from whom this passage is quoted, speaks 
of the Duke of Ln-yany and the commentary remarks that this was a grandson of 
King F ing of CKu (528-515), called Lu-yanj Wen Tse in the Kuo-yii. 

" A legendai-y hermit of 】, "。,.、■ time. (Cf. Chap. XXXV.) 


Lun-Heiig: A. Biographical, 

I composed the Cheng- ivu for the purpose of showing to the 
incumbents of the prefectures and the district magistrates, what is of 
paramount importance in the administration, and with a view to in- 
duce all people to reform and gratefully acknowledge the kindness of 
the government. The nine chapters of the Lun-lieng on Inventions and 
the three chapters on Exaggerations are intended to impress upon 
people that they must strive for truthfulness, and the chapters on Death 
and Ghosts 1 shall induce them to give their dead a simple burial. 

Confucius avoided all pomp, but people were very extravagant 
ill burying the dead and decorating the coffin. Liu Tse Cheng was 
in favour of simple funerals, but people would put costly things 
into the graves, and spare no money. Kuang Wu Ti regarded straw 
carriages and reed horses as sufficiently good objects for the sacri- 
ficial worship of the dead. Why do the common books and tra- 
ditions not mention this ? The belief in the talk on death has 
defiled them. 

Now I have written the essays on Death and on the False 
Reports about the Dead - to show that the deceased have no conscious- 
ness, and cannot become ghosts, hoping that, as soon as my readers 
have grasped this, they will restrain the extravagance of the burials, 
and become more economical. Such would be the advantage derived 
from the Lun-heng, Provided that my words have this effect, what 
would it matter, if my work were a creation? 

The writing of Tsang Hsieh is universally used to record things, 
the carriages of Hsi Chung for locomotion, the clothes of Po Yii as 
a protection against heat and cold, and the tiled houses of Ckieh 
to keep off wind and rain.^ If, irrespective of their usefulness or 
obnoxiousness, such things be solely found fault with for being in- 
novations, then men like Ts'ang Hsieh would have to be condemned, 
and the fifteen dynasties at the beginning of history all be blame- 
worthy.^ Provided that a thing be useful, there is no harm, even if it 
should be an innovation, and if there be no harm, what can be amiss? 

1 ri ancient times great public entertainments were given by 
imperial order with the object of seeing the customs and learning 

' Cf. pp. 57 and 58. 

'2 Lun-hrny N. 62 and G3. 

3 The tyrant Chieh is reported to have built the first brii'k houses ( 7V- 

4 The ten dynasties of the fabulous age of Chinese history together with the 
Five Emperors and their houses, whom Chinese fancy has credited with the invention 
of all the iundaiiiental institutions of civilisation, such as house building, dress making, 
writing, etc. 

Replies in SeH'-Defense. 


tlie feelings of the people. Then the Odes ^ originated among the 
people. The holy emperors might have said, " Ye, people, how 
dare you produce such novel things?," and have thrown them into 
prison, and destroyed their Odes. This was not done, and the 
Odes were thus handed down. Now the Lun-Jieitg and the Cheng- 
tvu are like the Odes. I trust that they will not be condemned, 
before they have been perused. 

This is the origin of the Lun-lieng. The reason why people 
so often take exreption to new productions is that they often contain 
so many unfounded assertions and disparaging' remarks on others. 
The Lnn-lieng aims at truth and dislikes all wild speculations. The 
chapters entitled: — Ch i-sliiJi^'' llsilan Han^ Hai kuo, and Yen-fa^ are 
full of praise and well-deserved applause,'^ and not disparaging at 
all. Such a creation might well escape reproach. 

1 The Odes of the Shi-king, 

2 " Equality of the ages." 

3 Contained in Books XYHI and XIX, N. 56-59. 

4 W ang CJi iuu/ eulogises the emperors of his own time, and places them on 
a level with the model sovereigns of antiquity. 


Lun Heiig: B. Metaphysical, 

Sp ontaneity ( Tse-jan) . 

By the fusion of tlie fluids of Heaven and Earth all things 
of the world are produced spontaneously, just as by the mixture 
of the fluids of husband and wife children are born spontaneously. 
Among the tilings thus produced, creatures with blood in their 
veins are sensitive of hunger and cold. Seeing that grain can be 
eaten, tliey use it as food , and discovering that silk and hemp can 
be worn, they take it as raiment. Some people are of opinion that 
Heaven produces grain for the purpose of feeding mankind, and 
silk and hemp to cloth them. That would be tantamount to making- 
Heaven the farmer of man or his mulberry girl, ' it would not be 
in accordance with spontaneity, therefore this opinion is very 
questionable aud unacceptable. 

Reasoning on Taoist principles we find that Heaven emits 
its fluid everywhere. Among the many things of this world grain 
dispels liuuger, and silk and hemp protect from cold. For that 
reason man eats grain, and wears silk and hemp. That Heaven 
does not produce grain, silk, and hemp purposely, in order to feed 
and cloth mankind, follows from the fact that by calamitous changes 
it does not intend to reprove man. Things are produced spontane- 
ously, and man wears and eats them ; the fluid changes spontane- 
ously, and man is friglitened by it, for the usual theory is dis- 
heartening. WJiere would be spontaneity, if the heavenly signs 
were intentional, and where inaction" 

Why must we assume that Heaven acts spontaneously? Be- 
cause it lias neither mouth nor eyes. Activity is connected with 
the mouth and the eyes : the mouth wishes to eat, and the eyes to 
see. riiese desires within manifest themselves without. That the 
mouth and the eyes are craving for something, which is considered 
an advantage, is due to those desires. Now, provided that: the 
moutij and the eye do not adect things, there is nothing- which 
tliey might long lor, why sliould there be activity then? 

1 Who I'eods tlie silkworms. 

- Inaction does not mean inotioiilessness, but spontaneous action without any 
uiiii 01' purpose. It is more ur less luecliunical, and not inspired by a conscious spirit. 



How do we know that Heaven possesses neither mouth nor 
eyes ? From Earth. The body of the Earth is formed of earth, 
and earth lias neither moutli nor eyes. Heaven and Earth are like 
husband and wife. Since the body of the Earth is not provided 
■vvith a moutli or eyes, we know that Heaven has no mouth or 
eyes neither. Supposing that Heaven has a body, then it must be 
like til at of tlie Earth, and should it be air only, this air would 
he like clouds and fog. How can a cloudy or nebular substance 
have a moutli or an eye? 

Some one might argue that every movement is originally in- 
action. There is desire provoking the movement, and, as soon as 
there is motion, there is action. The movements of Heaven are- 
similar to those of man, how could they be inactive? I reply that, 
Avlien Heaven moves, it emits its fluid. Its body moves, the lluid 
comes forth, and things are protUu^ed. When man moves his fluid, 
his body moves, liis fluid then comes forth, and a cliild is pro- 
duced. Man emitting his fluid does not intend to beget a child, 
yet the fluid being emitted, the child is born of itself. When 
Heaven is moving, it does not desire to produce things thereby, 
but tilings are produced of their own accord. That is spontaneity. 
Letting out its fluid it does not desire to create things, but things 
are created of themselves. That is inaction. 

But liow is the fluid of Heaven, which we credit with spon- 
taneity and inaction? It is placid, tranquil, desireless, inactive, 
and unbiisied. Lao Tse acquired long life by it. He obtained it 
from Heaven. If Heaven did not possess this fluid, how could 
Lao Tse liave obtained this nature? For it does not happen that 
tlie disciples alone speak of something, which their master never 

Perhaps this nature appeared again in Duke Huan,^ who was 
wont to say, "Let Kuan Chung - know." His attendants replied, "is it 
so easy to rule, if Kuan Chung is always the first and second word ? " 
The duke rejoined, " Before I had secured the services of Kuan Chung, 
I was in tlie greatest difficulties, now, after I 】iave got liim, I find 
everything easy." When Duke Huan liad taken Kuan Chung into 
his service, lie left the affairs to him. entrusted him witli the ad- 
ministration, and did not trouble any more about it. Should high 
Heaven, whicli in its exalted virtue confers the government upon 
ail emperor, reprove man, its virtue would be inferior to that of 

1 Duke Huan of C'h'i, 683-641 b.c. 

2 Duke Huan's famous minister. Cf. p. 176. 


Lun -Hpiig: B. Metaphysical. 

Duke Huan, and tlie conduct of a feudatory prince surpass that of 
great Heaven. 

Somebody might object that Duke Huan knew Kuan Chung 
to be a wise man, and therefore appointed him, and that but for 
Kuan Chung he would also have given vent to his displeasure. 
Meeting' with men like Yao and Shun Heaven would certainly not 
liave reprimanded people either. 

I beg to reply, that, if Heaven can reprimand, it might 
as well purposely appoint a wise prince, select a genius like Yao 
and Shun, confer the imperial dignity upon him, and leave the 
affairs of the empire to him without taking further notice of 
them. Now it is different. Heaven creates very inferior princes, 
who have no principles, and neglect virtue, and therefore has to 
reprove them every now and then. Would it not be afraid of 
the trouble? 

Tsao Ts' an,、 a minister of the Han, was given to wine, 
songs, and music, and did not care about government. When 
his son remonstrated with him, he gave him two hundred blows 
with the bamboo. At that period there was no insurrection 
in the empire. In Iluai-yang^ people coined counterfeit money, 
and the officials were powerless to check the abuse. Chi Yen^ 
was prefect then. He did not destroy a single furnace, or pun- 
ish a single individual. Quite indifferent, lie was comfortably 
reclining on his couch, and the conditions of Huai-yang became 
well ordered again. Tsao Tsan behaved himself, as though he 
were not a minister, and Chi Yen administered his prefecture, 
as if nobody were living iu it. Albeit yet the empire of tlie 
Han had no troubles, and in Huai-yang the punishments could 
be discontinued. So perfect was the virtue of Tsao Tsan, and 
so imposing- Chi Yens dignity. The majesty of Heaven and 
its virtue are quite something else than those of Tsao Tsan 
and Chi Yen, but to affirm that Heaven entrusts an emperor 
with the government, and llien reproves 】iiin, would amount 
to nothing less than that Heaven's virtue is not as exalted 
as that of Tsao Tsan, and its majesty not as imposing as that 
of Chi Yen. 

1 One of the counsellors and supporters of J fan Kao T.、.〃, died 190 b.c. ' On 
his laissrr faii'r policy vid. his biography in tlie Shi-chi chap. 54. 

2 A State in Honan. 

3 A minister of" the emperor Wn Ti, like T sao T's(m a follower of the 
doctrine of inaction inculcated by Lao TV. His policy of governing consisted in 
letting things alone. 



When Chii Po Yii ^ was governing Wei, Tse Kung asked him 
tlirougli somebody, how lie governed Wei The reply was, " I 
govern it by not governing." ― Government by not governing is 
inaction as a principle. 

Some opponent might say that as a sequel of universal peace 
a plan came forth from the Yellow Ricer, and a scroll from the Lo; 
Without drawing no plan can be made, and without action nothing 
is completed. Tlie fact that Heaven and Earth produced tlie plan 
and the scroll shows that they are active, they think. ― When 
Chcwg Liang was walking on tlie banks of the river Sse^ he met 
the "Yello、v Stone Genius," ^ wlio gave him the minister's hook." ** 
Heaven was supporting the Han and destroying the Ch in, therefore 
he ordered a spiritual stone to change into a ghost. That a book 
was handed to somebody is again considered a proof of activity. 

I am of opinion that all this was spontaneous, for how could 
Heaven take a brush and ink, and draw the plan, or write tlie 
scroll? The principle of Heaven is spontaneity, consequently the 
plan and the book must have been produced of themselves. 

T'ang Shu Yil of Chin^ and Cli eng Chi Yo of Lu& had a char- 
acter in their hands, when tliey were born, therefore one was 
called Yu^ tlie other Yo. When Cli uvg Tse of Sung was born, the 
characters Duchess of Ln ' were written on lier palm. These letters 
must have been written, wliile the three persons were still in their 
mother's womb. If we say that Heaven wrote them, while tliey 
were in their mother's womb, did Heaven perhaps send a spirit 
with a style, a brush, and ink to engrave and write the characters 

1 A disciple of Confnciu^ cf. Chap. XXXIIL The Taoists also claim him as 
one of theirs. Chuang 2V, chap. XXV, 33, informs us that "when Chu Po Yii 
reached his sixtieth year, he changed his opinions. What he had previously regarded 
as right, he now came to regard as wrong," i. e. from a Confucianist he became a 
Taoist, and as such upheld the principle of quietism. 

2 Vid. Chap. XXII. 

3 Huang Shih, cf. Chap. XXX. 

4 From this mysterious book Chang Liang is believed to have derived his 
plans consolidating the power of the Han dynasty. 

5 T ang Shu, the younger prince of T'anff, was a son of King Wii Wang 
and younger brother of King Ch'eng (1115-1078). He became the founder of the 
princely house of Chin. Cf. Shi-chi chap. 39 p. Iv where the character of his palm is 
likewise referred to. 

6 Ch^eng Chi was a younger son of Duke Humi of Lii (711-693). We read 
in the Shi-chi chap. 33 p. 13v the story of his having been born with the character 
Yo in his hand. 

' A daughter of Duke Wu of Sang (765-747, b.c.) who became married to 
Duke Hui of Lu. Cf. Chap. XXH, 


Lun-Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

on their bodies? The spontaneity of these processes seems dubious, 
and is difficult to understand. Externally there seemed to be 
activity, but as a matter of fact, there was spontaneity internally. 
Thus tlie Grand Annalist recording tlie story of the yellow stone, 
has his doubts, but cannot find the truth. ^ Viscount Chi en of Cliao ^ 
had a dream that he was ascending to heaven. There he saw a 
lad by tlie side of the Ruler of Heaven. When lie went out sub- 
sequently, lie perceived a young man in tlie street, who was tlie 
one whom he had seen previously in his dream by the side of 
the Ruler of Heaven. This must be regarded as a lucky augury 
the future flourishing of the Chao State, as the transmission of 
of the book by the " yellow stone " was a sign of tlie rise of the 
Han dynasty. That the supernatural fluid becomes a ghost, and 
that the ghost is shaped like a man, is spontaneous, and not the 
work of anybody. Wlien plants and trees grow, their flowers and 
leaves are onion green and have crooked and broken veins like 
ornaments If Heaven is credited witli having written the above 
mentioned characters , does it inalie these flowers and leaves also ? 
In the State of Sung a man carved a mulberiy-leaf of wood, 
and it took him tliree years to complete it. Confucms said " If the 
Earth required tliree years to complete one leaf, few plants would 
have leaves. "3 According to tliis dictum of Confucius the leaves of 
plants grow spontaneously, and for that reason tliey can grow 
simultaneously. If Heaven made them, their growth would be as 
much delayed as the carving of the mulberry-leaf by the man of 
the Sung State. 

Let us look at the hair and feathers of animals and birds, 
and their various colours. Can they all have been made? If so, 
animals and birds would never be quite finished. In spring we 
see the plants growing, and in autumn we see them full-grown. 
Can Heaven and Eartli have done this, or do things grow spontane- 
ously? If we may say that Heaven and Earth have done it, tliey 
must have used hands for the purpose. Do Heaven and Earth 
possess many thousand or many ton thousand hands to produce 
thousands and ten thousands of things at the same time? 

1 In his remarks added to the biography of f,ha"g Liang (S/ti-chi chap. 55 
I). 】3) S-ir Ma Ch'irn says that many scholars deny the existence of ghosts, but that 
the story of the yellow stone is very strange. 

.2 Cf. Chaj). XVII. 

3 We find this same story in Lieh Tse VIII, 2 and in Iluai Nan TV XX, 2, 
but both authors ascribe the words put in the mouth of Confiicliis here to Lieh l\r. 
ILiai Kan ZV makes tlic nmlberry-leaf tu be made of ivory, Lkh Tse, of jade. 



The things between Heaven and Earth are like a child in his 
mother's womb. After ten months pregnancy the mother gives 
birth to the child. Are his nose, his mouth, his ears, his hair, 
his eyes, his skin .with down, the arteries, the fat, the bones, the 
joints, the nails, and the teeth grown of themselves in tlie womb, 
or has the mother made them ? 

Why is a dummy never called a man? Because it has a nose, 
a mouth, ears, and eyes, but not a spontaneous nature. \Vu Ti was 
very fond of his consort Wang. Wlien she had died, lie pondered, 
wlietlier he could not see her figure again. The Taoists made an 
artificial figure of the lady.' When it was ready, it passed through 
the palace gate. Wii Ti greatly alarmed rose to meet lier, but, all 
of a sudden, she was not seen any more. Since it was not a real, 
spontaneous being, but a semblance, artificially made by jugglers, 
it became difl'use at first sight, dispersed, and vanished. Everything 
that has been made does not last long, like the image of the em- 
press, which appeared only for a short while. 

The Taoist school argues on spontaneity, but it does not 
know how to substantiate its cause by evidence. Therefore their 
theory of spontaneity has not yet found credence. However, in 
spite of spontaneity there may be activity for a while in support 
of it. Ploughing, tilling, weeding, and sowing in Spring are human 
actions. But as soon as the grain lias entered the soil, it begins 
growing by day and night. Man can do nothing for it, or if he 
does, he spoils the thing. 

A man of Sung was sorry that bis sprouts were not high 
enough, therefore he pulled them out, but, on the following day, 
they were dry, and died. He who wishes to do what is spon- 
taneous, is on a par witli this man of Sung. 

The following question may be raised : 一 " Man is born from 
Heaven and Earth. Since Heaven aud Earth are inactive, man 
who lias received the fluid of I- leaveii, ought to be inactive like- 
wise, wherefore does he act nevertheless? " 

For the following reason. A man with the highest, purest, 
and fullest virtue has been endowed with a large quantity of the 
lieaveuly fluid, therefore he can follow the example of Heaven, 
and be spontaneous and inactive like it. He 、vlio lias received 
but a small (juota. of the fluid, does not live in accordance with 
righteousness and virtue, and does not resemble Heaven and Earth. 

1 The apparition of the lady was evoked by the court magician Shao V\ eny 
\n 121 B.C. (Cf. Shi-chi chap. 28 p. 23.) 

Luii - Heng. 7 


Lun - Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

Hence he is called unlike, which means that he does not resemble 
Heaven and Eartli. Not resembling Heaven and Earth he cannot be 
accounted a wise man or a sage. Therefore he is active. 

Heaven and Earth are the furnace, and the creating is tlio 
melting process. How can all be wise, since the fluid of which 
they are formed is not the same? Huang and Lao were truly wise. 
Huang is Huang Ti, and Lao is Lao Tse. Huang and Lao's conduct 
was such, tliat their bodies were in a state of quietude and in- 
difference. Their government consisted in inaction. They took care 
of their persons, and behaved with reverence, hence Yin and Yang 
were in harmony. They did not long for action, and tilings were 
produced of themselves; tliey did not tliiak of creating anything, 
and things were completed spontaneously. 

The Yi-king says that Huang Ti, Yao, and Shun let their robes 
fall, and the empire was governed, i That they let their robes fall 
means that their robes fell down, and tliat they folded their arms, 
doing nothing. Confucius said, " Grand indeed \\ as Yao as a sove- 
reign I Heaven alone is great, and Yao alone emulated it!'" and, 
" How imposing was the way in wliicli Shun and Yll swayed the 
empire, but did not much care for it. "3 The Duke of Chou malies 
the remark that tlie supreme ruler enjoyed his ease.* By the 
supreme ruler Shun and Yii are meant. ^ 

Shun and Yil took over tlie peaceful government, which they 
continued, appointing wise men and men of talent. Tliey respected 
themselves, and did no work themselves, and the empire was gov- 
erned. Shun and Yil received the peaceful government from Yao. 
Yao imitated Heaven ; he did not do meritorious deeds or strive 
for a name, and reforms, for which nothing was done, were com- 
pleted of themselves. Hence it 、、'as said, " Excellent indeed," but 
the people did not find the right name for it. Those aged 50 years 
Avere beating clods of earth together on their land, but they did 
not understand Yao's virtue, because the reforms were spontaneous. 

The Yi-king says, " The great man equals Heaven and Eartli 
in virtue." " Huang Ti, Yao, and Shwi wm>. such great men. Their 

1 Yi-king, Chi-ts'e II [Legge's transl. p. 383). 

2 Analects VIII, 19. 、 

3 Analects VIII, 18. 

4 Shu-king, To-shih, Pt.V, Bk. XIV, 5 、L 管 Vol. Ill, Pt. II, p. 45o). 

& All other coiiimeiitators take the " supreme ruler " as a synonym for Ciod, 
and I think that tliey are right, and that Wang Ch 'ung's interpretation is forced for 
tlie purpose of .supporting liis theory. 

6 Cf. p. 128. 



virtue was on a level with that of Heaven and Earth, therefore 
they knew inaction. The principle of Heaven is inaction. Ac- 
cordingly ill spring it does not do the germinating, in summer 
the growing, in autumn the ripening, or in winter the hiding of 
the seeds. When tlie Yang fluid comes forth spontaneously, plants 
will germinate and grow of themselves, and, when the Yin fluid 
rises, tliey ripen and disappear of tlieir own accord. 

When we irrigate garden land with water drawn from wells 
or drained from ponds, plants germinate and grow also, but, when 
showers of rain come down, the stalks, leaves, and roots are 
all abundantly soaked. Natural moisture is mucli more copious 
than artificial irrigation from wells and ponds. Thus inactive action 
brings the greatest results. By not seeking it, merit is acquired, 
and by not affecting it, fame is obtained. Rain-showers, merit, and 
tame are something great, yet Heaven and Earth do not work for 
them. When tlie thud harmonises, rain gathers spontaneously. 

The literati in speaking of tlie relation of husband and wife 
establish similarities with Heaven and Earth. For husband and 
wife they find similarities with Heaven and Eartli, but in so far 
as they are unable to make use of the relation of husband and 
w ife, when discussing the nature of Heaven and Earth, they show 
a regrettable lack of acumen. 

Heaven expands above, and Eartli below. When the fluid 
from below rises, and the fluid on high descends, all things are 
created in the middle. While they are growing, it is not necessary 
that Heaven should still care for them, just as the father does not 
know the embryo, after it is in the mother's womb. Things grow 
spontaneously, and the child is formed of itself. Heaven and Eartli, 
and father and mother can take no further cognisance of it. But 
after birth, the way of man is instruction and teaching, the way 
of Heaven, inaction aud yielding to nature. Therefore Heaven al- 
lows the fish to swiin in the rivers, and the wild beasts to roam 
in tlie mountains, following tlieir natural propensities. It does 
not drive tlie fish up the hills, or the wild beasts into the water. 
Why? Because that would be an outrage upon their nature, and 
a complete disregard of wliat suits them. The people resemble 
tish and beasts. High virtue governs them as easily, as one fries 
small fish, and as Heaven and Earth would a(,t. 

Shang Yang i changed the laws of Ch' in wishing to acquire 
extraordinary merit. He did not hear tlie advice of ( 'hao Liang, 

Cf. p. 171 Note 2. 



Lun - Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

consequently he incurred the horrible penalty of being torn asunder 
by carts. If the virtue be poor, and the desires many, prince and 
minister hate one another. The Taoists possess real virtue : 一 the 
inferiors agree with the superiors, and the superiors are at peace 
with their inferiors. Being genuinely ignorant, they do nothing, 
and. there is no reason, why they should be reproved. This is what 
they call a well balanced government. Prince and minister forget one 
another in governing, the fish forget each other in the water, ^ and 
so do the beasts in the forests, and men in life. That is Heaven. 

Confucius said to Yen Yuan, When I deferred to you, I did 
not think of it, and when you deferred to me , you likewise did 
not think of it." 2 Although Confucius was like a prince, and Yen 
Yuan like a minister, he could not make up his mind to reprimand 
Yen Yuan, how much less would Lao Tse have been able to do so, 
if we consider liim as a prince and Wen Tse^ as his minister? Lao 
Tse and Wen Tse were like Heaven and Earth. 

Generous wine tastes sweet. When those who drink it, be- 
come drunk, they do not know each other. Bad wine is sour and 
bitter. Hosts and guests knit the brows. Now, reprimands are a 
proof of tlie badness of one's principles. To say that Heaven rep- 
rimauds would be like pretending that Heaven's excellence is in- 
ferior to that of generous wine. 

Ceremonies originate from a want of loyalty and good faitli, 
and are the beginning of confusion.^ On that score people Hnd 
fault with one another, which leads to reproof. At the time of 
the Three Rulers people were sitting down self-satisfied, and walk- 
ing about at perfect ease. Sometimes they took themselves for 
horses, and sometimes for oxen. Virtuous actions were out of the 
question, and the people were dull and beclouded. Knowledge 
and wisdom did not yet make their appearance. Originally, there 
happened no calamities or catastrophes either, or, if they did, they 
were not denoted as reprimands. Why? Because at that time people 
were feeble-minded, and did not restrain or reproach one another. 

1 " The fish forget each other in the rivers and lakes," says Huai JSan 
Tse U, 4r. 

2 Botli were in a state of blissful Ibrgetfuliiess and purposelessness. The 
passage is (juoted from Ihiai Nan Tsr XI, or. 

3 A Taoist philosopher, disciple of Lao TV. 

' liepriniaiicis tell against the system by which they are required, pericct 
virtue pervading tlie universe necessitates no recriminations, for all arc filled with it 
as with generous wine. 

Tliis argument is (^uite Taoist. 



Later generations liave gradually declined: ― superiors and inferiors 
recriminate, and calamitous events continually happen. Hence the 
hypothesis of reprimands has been developed. The Heaven of to- 
day is the Heaven of old, and it is not the case that the. Heaven 
of old was beuign, whereas now Heaven is harsh. The hypothesis 
of" reprimands has been put forward at present, as a surmise made 
by men from their own feelings. 

Declarations and oaths do not reach up to the Five Em- 
perors, agreements and covenants to the Three Rulers, and the 
giving of hostages to tlie Five Princes. ^ The more people's virtue 
declined, the more faith began to fail them. In their guile and 
treachery they broke treaties, and were deaf to admonitions. Treaties 
and admonitions being of no avail, tliey reproached one another, 
and if no change was brought about by these reproaches, they 
took up arms, aud fought, till oue was exterminated. Consequently 
reprimands point to a state of decay and disorder. Therelbre it 
appears very dubious tliat Heaven should make reprimands. 

Those who believe in reprimands, refer to human ways as a 
proof. Among men a sovereign reprimands his minister, and high 
Heaven reprimands the sovereign. It does so by means of cal- 
amitous events, they say. However, among men it also happens 
that the minister remonstrates with his sovereign. When Heaven 
reprimands an emperor by visiting him with calamities, and the 
latter wishes at that time to remonstrate with high Heaven, how 
can he do it? If they say that Heaven's virtue is so perfect, that 
man cannot remonstrate with it, then Heaven possessed of such 
virtue, ought likewise to keep quiet, and ought not to reprimand. 
When the sovereign of Wan Shih did wrong, tlie latter did not 
say a word, but at table he did not eat, which showed his per- 
fection. An excellent man can remain silent, and august Heaven 
witli his sublime virtue should reprimand ? Heaven does not act, 
therefore it does not speak. The disasters, which so frequently 
occur, are the work of the spontaneous fluid. 

Heaven and Earth cannot act, nor do they possess any know- 
ledge. When there is a cold in the stomach, it aclies. This is 
not caused by man, but the spontaneous working of the fluid. The 
space between Heaven and Earth is like that between the back 
and the stomach. 2 

1 The five leading feudal princes during the later Chou epoch, to wit: 一 Duke 
Huan of Ch'i D.b.c. 643, Duke Wen of Chin D.b.c. 628, Duke Hsiang of Sung D.b.c. 637, 
King Chuang of Ch'u D.b.c. 591, and Duke 3Iu of Ch'in D.b.c. 621. 

2 And it is likewise filled with the spontaneous fluid. 

102 Lun - H^g : B. Metaphysical. 

If Heaven is regarded as the author of every calamity, are 
all abnormities, great aud small, complicated and simple, caused by 
Heaven also ? A cow may give birth to a horse, and on a cherry- 
tree a plum may grow. Docs, according to the theory under dis- 
cussion, the spirit of Heaven enter the belly of the cow to create 
the horse, or stick a plum upon a cherry-tree? 

Lao ^ said, " The Master said," " Having no official employment, 
I acquired many arts," and he said, " Wheu I was young, my 
condition was low, and therefore I acquired my ability in many 
things, but they were mean matters."^ What is low iu people, 
such as ability and skilfiiltiess, is not practised by the great ones. 
How could Heaven, whicli is so majestic and sublime, choose to 
bring about catastrophes with a view to reprimanding people ? 

Moreover, auspicious and inauspicious events are like the 
flushed colour appearing on the face. Man cannot produce it, the 
colour comes out of itself. Heaven and Earth are like the human 
body, the transformation of their fluid, like the fluslied colour. 
How can Heaven and Earth cause the sudden change of their fluid, 
since man cannot produce the ilushed colour? The change of tlic 
fluid is spontaneous, it appears of itself, as the colour coines out 
of itself. The soothsayers rely oii this, when they foretell the 

Heat' and cold, reprimands, phenomenal changes, and attraction, 
all these four errors have already been treated.^ Reprimands are 
more contrary to tlie ways of Heaven than anything else, there- 
fore I have discussed them twice, explaining wliere tlie difficulties 
in the way of the two antagonistic views lie. The one is in ac- 
cordance with human a (lairs, but does not fall in with Taoism, 
tlie other agrees with Taoism, but is not ia liariiiony with liunuiu 
affairs. But tliougli opposed to the beliel" of the Confuciauists, it 
correspouds to the ideas of lluany Ti aud Lao Tse. 

1 ChHn Chang, styled Tse K'ai, a disciple of ( 'onfiicim. 

2 Analects IX, (i. 

3 In tlie preceding chapters of the Lun-hmg. 

The Nature of Things. 


The Nature of Things {Wu-shih). 

The literati declare that Heaven and Earth produce man on 
purpose. This assertion is preposterous, for, when Heaven and 
Earth mix up their fluids, man is born as a matter of course un- 
intentionally. In just the same manner a child is produced spon- 
taneously, when the essences of husband and wife are harmoniously 
blended. At the time of such an intercourse, the couple does not 
intend to beget a child. Their passionate love being roused, they 
unite, and out of this union a child is born. From the fact that 
husband and wife do not purposely beget a child one may infer 
that Heaven and Earth do not produce man on purpose either. 

However, man is produced by Heaven and Earth just as fish 
in a pond, or lice on man. They grow in response to a peculiar 
force, each species reproducing itself. This holds good for all the 
things which come into being between Heave q and Earth. 

It is said iu books that Heaven and Earth do not create man 
on purpose, but that man is produced unintentionally, as a matter 
of course. If anybody holds this view, how can lie admit that 
Heaven and Eartli are tlie furnace, all things created, the copper, 
tlie Yin and the Yang, tlie fire, and all tlie transformations, the work- 
ing'? If the potter and tlie founder use fire in order to melt the 
copper, and to burn their ware, their doings are dictated by a certain 
purpose. Now, tliey own tliat Heaven and Eartli create man without 
a purpose, tliat, uuder given circumstances, lie grows spontaneously. 
Can it be said of tlie potter and founder, that tliey too make their 
ware purposeless, and that it grows naturally, and of its own accord? 

If a comparison is not to the point, it cannot be called an 
analogy, and if words do not express tlie trutli, the statement can- 
not be considered correct. It may be urged that the purport of 
the above simile is but to show that the heavenly fluid, 、vitli wliich 
man is imbued, is not quite uniform, as the moulds into wliicli tlie 
liquid copper runs, and the fire applied in burning earthenware, 
may be different, and tliat it is not said that Heaven and Earth 
create man in the same way as potters and founders do their 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

Whenever human affairs are referred to, to explain human 
nature, they must be taken as a whole, which cannot be divided 
into different parts. When tlie eye tries to have a look at its 
own head, the head will turn, and when tlie hand grasps at tlie 
foot, the foot will move. Eye and head belong to the same organ- 
ism, hand and foot to the same body.^ 、 

Tlie potter and founder having first prepared the clay for 
the vessel, require a mould to form it, which is a designed act. 
Burning coal in order to have a fire, they regulate the furnace or 
stove, which is done ou purpose also. Yet not all the iiiolteu 
copper gets a proper shape, and the burned vessels do not invariably 
turn out well, for their completion is not a designed act. 

Since Heaven and Earth cannot create 】nan on purpose, the 
creation of all the other tilings and beings cannot be intentional 
either. The fluids of Heaven and Earth mixing, things grow natur- 
ally and spontaneously. 

Tilling, weeding tlie ground, and sowing are designed acts, 
but whether the seed grows up, and ripens, or not, depends on 
chance, and spontaneous action. How do we know? If Heaven had 
produced its creatures on purpose, it ought to have tauglit tlieiii 
to love each other, and not to prey upon and destroy one another. 
One might object that sucli is the nature of the Five Elements, that 
when Heaven creates all things, it imbues tliem with the fluids 
of the Five Elements, 3 and that these fight together, and destroy 
one another. But then Heaven ought to have filled its creatures 
with the fluid of one element only, and tauglit them mutual love, 
not permitting tlie fluids of the five elements to resort to strife and 
mutual destruction. 

People will rejoin, that wishing to use things, one must cause 
them to fight and destroy each other, because thereby only can 
they be made into what tliey are intended to be. Therefore they 

1 The meaning is tliat, if the creation of man by Heaven and Earth be com- 
[mred to the melting of copper or the burning of earthenware, these latter processes 
must be taken in their entirety like a body or an organism. Touching one member, 
one affects the whole organism. One cannot single out some constituent parts of 
the process, such as tlie moulding or the firing. Then " purpose " is comprised in 
the image, which thereby liecomes distorted. 

2 The completion of a work done hy man on purpose, depends on conditions 
and circunistaiices over which he has not always control. Man acts with a purpose, 
but the forces of nature which he sets in motioii, and which bring about the final 
result, have no purpose. 

3 The Five Elements of ( 'hinese natural philosophy : -- metal, wood, water, 
lire, and earth. 

The Nature ol* Tilings. 


say, Heaven uses the fluids of the Five Elements in producing all 
tiling's, and man uses all these things in performing his many works. 
If one thing does not subdue tlie other, they cannot be employed 
together, and, without mutual struggle and annihilation, they cannot 
be made use of. If the metal does not hurt tlie wood, the wood 
cannot be used, and if tlie fire does not melt the metal, the metal 
cannot be made into a tool. Thus the injury done by one thing 
to tlie other turns out to be a benefit after all. If all the living 
creatures overpower, bite, and devour one another, it is the fluids 
of tlie Five Elements also that compel them to do so. 

Ergo we are to understand that all created things must injure 
one another, if they are to be useful. Now tigers, wolves, serpents, 
snakes, wasps, and scorpions attack and hurt man. Did then Heaven 
design man to be made use of by those animals? 

Furthermore, because tlie human body harbours the fluids of '-一 
the Five Elements, man practises the Five Virtues, which are the 
outcome of the Five Elements. As long as he has the Five Organs 
in his bosom, those fluids are in order. If, according to this view, 
animals prey upon and destroy one another, because of their being- 
endued with the fluids of the Five Elements, the Imman body with 
the Five Organs in its breast ought to be a victim of internecine 
strife, and the heart of a man living- a righteous life be lacerated 
by discord. But what proves us that there is really an antagonism 
of the Five Elements, and that therefore animals oppress each other ? 

The sign Yin corresponds to wood, its proper animal is the 
tiger. 1 Hsii corresponds to earth, its animal is the dog. Ch ou and 
Wei correspond to earth likewise, C/iou having as animal the ox, 
and Wei having the sheep. Wood overcomes earth, therefore the 
dog, the ox, and the sheep are overpowered by the tiger. Hai goes 
with water, its animal being the boar. Sse goes with fire, and has 
the serpent as animal. Tse means also water, its animal being the 
rat. Wii also corresponds to fire, its animal is the horse. Water 
overcomes fire, therefore the boar devours the serpent. Fire is 
quenched by water, therefore, when the horse eats the excrements 
of rats, its belly swells up.'^ 

1 In the ancient, so called natural philosophy of the Chinese, a cyclical char- 
acter, such as Hsii, CKou, Wei, etc., and a certain animal are supposed to correspond 
to each of the five elements. From the relations between the elements one has drawn 
conclusions concerning their attributes. The greatest Chinese scholars have indulged 
in these plays, and mistaken them for natural science. 

2 To wit the horse is hurt by the rat, because fire, the element of the horse, 
is quenched by water, which corresponds to the rat. 


Lun-Hc'iig: B. Metaphysical. 

However, going more thoroughly into tlie question, we are 
confronted with the fact that not unfrequently it does not appear 
that animals overpower one another, which they ought, after this 
theory. Wu is connected with the horse, Tse with the rat, Yu with 
the cock, and Mao with the hare. Water is stronger than fire, 
why does the rat not drive away the horse? Metal is stronger 
than wood, why does the cock not eat the hare? Hai means the 
boar, Wei the sheep, and Ch'ou the ox. Earth overcomes water, 
wherefore do the ox and the sheep not kill the boar. Sse corres- 
ponds to the serpent, Shen to the monkey. Fire destroys metal, liow 
is it that the serpent does not eat the monkey? The monkey is 
afraid of the rat, and the clog bites the monkey. The rat goes 
with water, and the monkey with metal. Water not being stronger 
than metal, wliy does the monkey fear the rat? Hsil is allied to 
earth, Shen to the monkey. Earth not forcing metal, for what 
reason is the monkey frightened by the dog? 

The East is represented by wood, its constellation is the Blue 
Drag'on,i the West by metal, its constellation is the White Tiger. 
The South corresponds to tire, and has as constellation the Scarlet 
Bird, the North is connected with water, its constellation is the 
Black Toi'toise.2 Heaven by emitting the essence of these four stars 
produces the bodies of these four animals on earth. 3 Of all the 
animals they are the first, and they are imbued with tlie fluids of 
the Five Elements in the highest degree. Now, wlien the dragon 
and the tiger meet, they do not fight, and the scarlet bird and 
the tortoise do each other no harm. Starting from these four famous 
animals, and from those belonging to the twelve horary characters,* we 
find that all the other animals eudued witli the Five Elements, can much 
less be prompted to strife aud discord by their natural organisation. 

As all created things struggle and fight together, the animals 
subdue one another. When they try to tear their enemies to pieces, 

1 The points of the compass, the stars, hours, days, months, and years, colours, 
grains, etc. have all been incorporated into the af'ore-nientionecl scheme, based on 
tlie interaction of the elements. 

2 These Four Constellations are the Four Quadrants into which tlie Twenty- 
eight Stellar Mansions are divided. (Cf. Mayers Manual, Pt. II, N. 91 and 313.) 

:'' Tliosc four constellations are stars, but not animals, though they bear the 
names of aiiiiiials. I low then could Heaven produce animals from their essence ? 

' Tlie Twelve Horary (Iliaracters ai'e the Twelve Branches or Twelve Cyc- 
lical Signs applied to the twelve double hours of the day. They as well as their 
corresponding animals have been enumerated above, though not in their regular 
sequence. 'J'lic Twelve Animals are: ― Rat, ox, tiger, hare, dragon, serpent, horse, 
sheep, inoiikey, cock, dog, boar. (Vid. Giles, Diet. p. 1383.) 

The Nature of Tilings. 


and devour tliein, all depends on the sharpness ot their teetli, the 
strength of their muscles aucl sinews, the agility of their movements, 
and their courage. 

If with men on earth tlie power is not equally divided, or 
their strength equally balanced, tliey vanquish and subjugate one 
another as a matter of course, using their strength to subdue, and 
their swords to despatch their foes. Man strikes with his sword 
just as the beasts butt, bite, and scratch with their horns, teeth, 
and claws. A strong arm, pointed horns, a truculent courage, 
and long teeth win the victory. Pusillanimity, short claws, cow- 
ardice, and blunted spurs bring about defeat. 

Men are audacious or faint-hearted. That is tlie reason why 
they win or lose tlieir battles. The victors are therefore not neces- 
sarily endowed with the fluid of metal, or the vanquished with 
the essence of wood.^ 

Confucius afraid of Yang Hit '- took himself off, covered with 
perspiration. Yang Hu s colour was not necessarily white, and Con- 
fucius was not blue-faced.^ Because the falcon pounces upon pi- 
geons and sparrows, and because the hawk-owl kills, and devours 
wild geese, it does not follow that the falcon and the hawk-owl 
are born in the south, or that pigeons, sparrows, and wild geese 
inhabit the west.^ It is but bodily strength and courage that lead 
to victory. 

In the mansion there will always be people disputing, and in 
tbe cottage, litigating. In a law-suit there must be right and 
wrong, in a discussion truth and error. He wlio is in error, 
and in the wrong, loses, whereas he who tells the truth, and is 
right, wins. 

[t may happen, however, that in arguing, the glib-tongued, 
whose speech Hows with flippant rapidity, win, and that the in- 
eloquent, who falter and stammer iii their speech, are beaten. The 
tongue plays the same roll in debates as swords and halberds in 
battles. Sharp swords, long halberds, strong and quick Lands and 
feet secure the victory. Blunt swords, short spears, and slow Lauds 
and feet cause the defeat. 

1 Metal is stronger than wood, as we were told above. 

2 Yang Hu was the principal minister of the Chi family, one of the three 
leading families in the La State, Confucius' country. 】 ""〃 Hu being an usurper, 
scheming to arrogate the whole authority of the La State to himself, Confucius 
refused to see him. (Cf. Analects XVII, 1.) 

3 White overcomes blue. 

4 Because tlie south is supposed to be stronger than the west. 


Lun - Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

Whether one creature vanquishes the other, depends on its 
bodily strength, or its prowess, or its dexterity. If a small being is 
courageous, and possesses a quick tongue and nimble feet, a small 
animal may overpower a big one, and a big one without bodily 
strength and destitute of powerful horns or wings, may succumb 
to a sin all antagonist despite its bigness. The magpie eats tlie skin 
of the hedgehog, and the shrike swallows the snake, for the liedge- 
liog and the snake are not very nimble. Gnats and mosquitoes are 
not as strong as the ox or the horse, yet these latter are tormented 
by gnats and mosquitoes, which are a very audacious lot. 

The horns of a stag are strong enough to pierce a clog, and 
a monkey might well catch a rat with its hands, but the stag is 
brought to bay by the (log, and the monkey driven away by a 
rat, for they do not know how to make use of their horns and 
claws. Thus an ox, ten years old, is lead by a herdsboy, and an 
elephant, eight cubits high, obeys the hook of a young Annamese 
mahout, all for want of skill. With cleverness a small creature 
gets the better of a big one, but without it the weak succumbs 
to the strong. 

Phenomenal Cliaiigcs. 


Phenomenal Changes [Pien t'ung). 

Arguing on calamitous events I have already expressed my 
doubts as to Heaven reprimanding man by misfortunes.^ They 
say, moreover, tliat the sovereign, as it were, moves Heaven by "j 
liis government, and tliat Heaven moves the fluid in response. ― 
Beating a drum and striking a bell with a hammer would be an 
analogous process. Tlie drum represents Heaven, the hammer tlie 
government, and the sound of the drum or the bell is like Heaven's 
response. When man acts below, the heavenly fluid survenes, mid 
accompanies his actions. I confess that I doubt this also. 

Heaven can move things, but how can things move Heaven? 
Men and things depend upon Heaven, and Heaven is the master 
of men and things. Thus one says that, when Wang Liang ^ whips 
the horses, the carriage and the steeds rush over the plain. It is 
not said that, when the carriage and the steeds chase over the 
plain, Wang Liang subsequently whips the horses The heavenly 
fluid changes above, and men and things respond to it below. 
Consequently, when Heaven is about to rain, the shang-yang^ begins 
to dance, and attracts the rain. The '"^ shang-yang^' is a creature 
which knows the rain. As soon as Heaven is about to rain, it 
bends its single leg, and commences to dance. 

When Heaven is going to rain, the mole-crickets and ants 
leave their abodes, the eartli-worins come forth, the chords of 
guitars become loose, and chronic diseases more violent. This 
shows, how Heaven moves things. When Heaven is about to blow, 
the creatures living in nests become restless, and, when it is going 
to rain, the insects staying in holes become excited. The fluid of 
wind and rain has such an effect upon those creatures. Man takes 
the same position between Heaven and Earth as fleas and bugs 
between the upper and lower garments, or crickets and ants in 
crevices. Can fleas and bugs, crickets and ants, in so far as tliey 

1 In chap. VI, which in the Lmn-heng precedes chap. V. 

2 A famous charioteer (cf. p. 138). 

3 A one-legged bird said to portend rain. 


Lun-Hpiig: R. Metaphysical. 

are either rebellious or peaceful, wild or quiet, bring about a change 
of the fluid in tlie crevices ? Fleas and bugs, mole-crickets and 
ants cannot do this. To pretend that man is able to do so, shows 
a misconception of the nature of the lluid of tilings. 

When the wind comes, the boughs of the trees shajie, but 
these boughs cannot produce the wind. In tlie same manner at 
the end of summer the field crickets chirrup, and the cicadas cry. 
They are affected by the Yin fluid. When tlie thunder rolls, the 
pheasants become frightened, and , wlien the insects awake from 
their state of torpidity, the snakes come forth. This is the rising 
of the Yang fluid. When it is near mid-niglit, the cranes scream, 
and wlien at dawn tlie sun is about to rise, tlie cocks crow. 
Althouo-h these be not phenomenal changes, they show at least, 
how the heavenly fluid moves tilings, and how those respond to 
the heavenly fluid. One may say that heat and cold influence the 
sovereign in such a way, that he emits a fluid by whicli he rewards 
or punishes, but are we warranted in saying that rewards and 
punishments affect high Heaven so, that it causes heat or cold 
to respond to the government? 

In regard to the Six Passions ^ the expositors of the wind 
theory maintain that, when the wind blows, robbers and thieves 
set to work under its influence, but the nature of robbers and 
thieves cannot move Heaven to send the wind. When the wind 
bloAvs, it lias a strange influence on perverted minds so, that robbers 
and thieves do their deeds. How can we prove that? Robbers 
and thieves seeing something', take it a、vay, and beholding an 
enemy, kill him. This is an oH'-liand business, and the work of 
a moment, and not premeditated day and night. When the heavenly 
afflatus passes, the time of greedy scoundrels and stealthy thieves 
lias (; oine. 

Those who predict d earn ess and cheapness from the wind, 
liold that a wind l)lowing- ovor residences of kings and ministers 
l)riiii>s clearness, whereas a wind coining from the dwellings ot" 
prisoners, or of the dead, brings cheapness. Dearness and cheapness 
refer to the amount of pecks and bushels to be got. When the 
wind arrives, tlie buyers of grain raise or loAvor the prices, such is 
the wonderful influciu^e exercised by the hcjivciily fluid on men 
and tilings. Thus tlie price of grain rises, or falls, becomes dear, 
or clicaj). 

1 Cheerfulness, anger, grief, joy, love, and hatred. It is more common to 
speak of Seven Passions. They are the same as those given above, but joy is 
replaced by fear, and desire is added. 

Phenomenal Changej 


In the book on the Celestial Governors ^ it is stated tliat the 
Avind blowing from the four ([uarters is determined on the morning 
of New Year's Day. When tlie wind blows from the south, there 
will be droughts; when it blows from the north, inundations. 
Coining* from the east, it forebodes epidemics, and coining from 
the west,, war. The Great Aunalist is right in saying that water, 
dryness, war, and diseases are predetermined from the wind, for 
luck and inisliap of men and tilings depend on Heaven. 

It is spring that animates things, and winter that causes them 
to (lie. Spring vivifies, winter kills. Should Heaven for any reason 
Avisli spring to kill, and " inter to vivify, tilings would not die or 
live at all, why? Because the life of things is governed by tlie 
Yang principle, and tlieir death depends on tlie Yinr 

By bloAving air upon a person one cannot make him cold, 
nor can (me make liiin wai'm by breathing upon him. But if a 
person who has tlius been blown or breathed upon, comes into 
winter or summer, lie will have tlie unpleasant sensation of chill 
or heat. The cold and hot fluids depend on heaven and earth, 
and are governed by the Yin and the Yang. How could liuiiian 
affairs and governmeut have any influence upon them? 

Moreover, Heaven is tlie root, and man the apex. Climbing 
up a tree, we wonder that tlie branches cannot move the trunk, 
but, if tlie trunk is cut down, all tlie twigs witlier. Human affairs 
resemble the branches of a tree, that which gives warmth is like 
the root and the trunk. 

For those creatures which are born from Heaven and filled 
Avitli its fluid Heaven is the master in the same manner as the 
ear, tlie eye, tlie hand, and the foot are ruled by the heart. When 
the heart lias that iateution, the ear and tlie eye hear and see, 
and the hand and the foot move and act. To maintain tliat Heaven 
responds to man would be like saying that the heart is under the 
command of tlie ear and the eye, tlie hand and the foot. 

Streamers hanging down from flags arc attached to the flagstaff. 
The flagstaff moving eastward, those streamers folloAv, and float west- 
ward. If they say that heat and cold folIoAv rewards and punisli- 
ments. then the lieaveDly tluid must be like those streamers. 

1 Shi-chi chap. 27 p. 34 v. The " Celestial Governers" are the sun, the moon, 
and the planets. The passage referred to here speaks of 8 winds, however, and 
their attributes are different from those given by Wang Ch'ung. 

" Heaven could not purposely act against the laws of nature, by which the 
vegetation grows in spring, and fades in winter. 


Lun -Heng: R. Metaphysical. 

The fact that the " Hook " star (Mercury) is amidst the 
"House" constellation forebodes an earth-quake.^ The Great Di- 
viner of CKi was cognisant of this, and told Duke Cldng'^ that he 
could shake the earth, whicli Dulie Citing believed/' To say that 
a sovereign can cause lieat and cold is like Duke CJiing's trusting 
in the ability of the Great Diviner to shake the earth. Man cannot 
move the earth, nor can lie move Heaven. Heat and cold are 
lieavenly fluids. Heaven is very liigli, man very small. With a 
small rod one cannot strike a bell, and with a fire-fly one cannot 
heat a cauldron. Why? Because a bell is large, and a rod short, 
a cauldron big, and a fir^-fly small. If a tiny creature, seven 
feet liigli,'* would attempt to influence the miglity fluid of great 
Heaven, it is evident that it would not have the slightest effect. 

When it has been predetermined that a great general is about 
to enter a territory, lie will be angry, in case tlie air is cold, and 
pleased, if it be warm. Now, joy and anger are called forth by 
actions. Previous to his entering tlie territory, they are not yet 
manifest, and do not come forward, before the conduct of tlie 
people and the officials lias been inquired into. But tlie hot or 
the cold fluids have been there previously. If joy and anger evoked 
heat and cold, those fluids ought to appear later than joy and 
anger. Therefore on】y the hot and the cold fluids evoke tlie sove- 
reign's pleasure or wrath. 

Some will say ' Not so ; tlie greatest sincerity is required. In 
one's actions one must be most sincere, as Tsou Yen was, who im- 
plored Heaven, when frost began to fall's or the wife of CKi Liang 
who by lier tears caused the city wall to collapse. How ? The 
heavenly fluid cannot be moved?' 

The greatest sincerity is shown in the likes and dislikes of 
the heart. When fruits are hanging before a man's face, no more 
tlian one foot away iVom liis inoutli, he may desire to eat them, 
and his broatli may touch them, yet lie does not obtain tliem 

1 Cf. p. 127 and Shi-chi chap. 27 p. 27v. 

2 546-488 B.C. 

3 We learn from Iluai Nan 'I'se XII, 22 quoted in Liin-hmg IV, 13 (Pien-hm) 
that Yen Tse told the Great Diviner that tli<, eartli-(juake would take place, because 
the " Hook" star was between the constellations of tlic " House " and the " Heart," 
vvliereiipoii tlic Great Diviner confessed to tlie Duke that tlie earth would shake, 
l)iit that it would not be liis doing (cf. p. 127). 

* /. e. mail. The ancient Chinese foot was imich smaller than the one now in use. 
5 Cf, chap. XXI. 

r' On officer of the ( li i State, who was slain in a battle against the ('h'ii 
State (cf. Mmcius Book VI, I*. II chap. 6). 

Phenomenal Changes. 


thereby. But, when he takes them in his hand, and conveys them 
to his mouth, then lie can eat them. Even small fruits which can 
easily be moved in a basket, and are not far from the mouth, 
cannot be procured merely by a desire, be it ever so strong. How 
about Heaven then, which is so high and distant from us, and 
whose fluid forms the shapeless empyrean without beginning or end? 

During the dog-days, people stand against the wind, and in 
the depth of winter, they sit turned towards the sun. In summer, 
they are anxious to obtain coolness, and in winter, they Avould like 
to have warmth. These wishes are most sincere. When their 
desires reacli their climax, they will perhaps stand against the 
wind, and simultaneously fan themselves, or turned towards the 
sun-sliine, light a fire in a stove. Yet Heaven will never change 
its fluid for summer or winter's sake. Heat and cold have their 
fixed periods, which are never transmuted for man's sake. With 
an earnest desire one does not obtain it, how should it be brought 
about by rewards and punishments, when the thoughts are not 
longing for heat or cold at all? 

The sighs of ten thousand people cannot move Heaven, how 
should it be possible that the sobs of Tsou Yen alone could cause 
the frost to fall? Could the predicament of Tsou Yen be compared 
to that of CKii Yuan ? Was his unjust imprisonment like jumping 
into the river? Were the lamentations of the Li-sao and the CKu- 
t'se^ nothing more than a sigh? 一 When C/i ii Yuan died, there fell 
no frost in the State of CKu. 

This happened during the reign of the Kings Huai and Hsiang.^ 
At the time of the Kings Li and Wu,^ Pien Ho^ presented them 
with a jade-stone, and had his two feet cut off. Offering his stone 
lie wept, till his tears ran dry, when he went on weeping blood. 
Can the sincerity of Tsou Yen bear a comparison with Pien Ho s 
sufferings, or his unjust arrest with the amputation of the feet? 
Can the sighs towards heaven be put on a parallel with tears of 
blood? Sighs are surely not like tears, nor Tsou Yens imprisonment 

1 The " Elegies of Ch'u" comprising the Li-sao and some other poems of 
Ch'ii Yuan and his contemporaries, all plaintive pieces referring to Ch'ii J—Man's disgrace. 

2 King Huai of Ch'u 327-294, King Ch'inff Hsiang 294-261. Ch'ii 】-醒 
committed suicide in 294 b.c. 

3 King Wu reigned from 739-688. His predecessor is called Hsiung Hsiin 
(756-739) in the Shi-chi, not Li. 

* Pien Ho was taken for an impostor, and first sentenced to have his left 
foot cut off. When he presented the stone, a second time, his right foot was cut 
off. At last the genuineness of tlie jade-stone was discovered. 

Lou -ileng. S 


Lun - Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

like the cutting of the feet. Considering their grievances Tsou Yen is not 
Pien Ho's equal. Yet at that time no frost was seen in tlie Cli u country. 

Li Sse'^ and Chao Kao - caused the death of the crown-prince 
Fu Su by their calumnies. Meng T'ien^ and Meng Ao^ were involved 
in his fall. At that time they all gave vent to their pain, which 
was like sighing. Their misfortune culminated in death, and was 
not limited to unjust banishment. Albeit yet no cold air was pro- 
duced, where they died. 

CJiin buried alive 400,000 soldiers of Chao below Cliang p ing^^ 
where they were all thrown into pits at the same time. Tlieir 
wails and cries tlien were more than sighs. Even if tlieir sincerity 
was less than that of T sou Yen, yet tlie sufferings of 400,000 people 
must have been commensurate to the pain of one wise man, and 
the cries they uttered, while falling- into the pits, must have been 
worse than the moans of oue fettered prisoner. 

Ill spite of this no hoar-frost was seen falling down below 
CJi ang-p ing, when the above related event took place. 

W e read in tlie " fu-hsing,' chapter: ~ The people maltreated 
universally complained that they had not failed against the Ruler 
of Heaven." 7 This means that ( li ih Yus subjects suffering under 
his vexations universally complained that they had not sinned 
against liigli Heaven. Since tlie complaints of a whole populace 
could not cause a fall of frost, tlie story about Tsou Yen is most 
likely ficticious also. 

In the south it is extremely hot: 一 the sand burns, stones 
crumble into dust, and father and son bathe in the same water. 
In the north it is bitterly cold : ― water turns into ice, the earth 
cracks, and father and son huddle together in the same den. Yen 
is situated in the north. Tsou Yen was there in tlie 5tli month of 
Chou, & which corresponds to tlie 3d month of the corrected year. 

1 Cf. p. 171. 

2 A eunuch, who together with Li Sse caused the death of Fu Su, eldest son of 
(''h'in S/iih Huang 7V, and under //'". Hai usurped all power. In 207 b.c. he was 
assassinated by order of Tse Ying, son of Fu Su. 

3 Cf. p. 167. 

4 The grand father of Mmg T'im, also a general of Shih Huang Ti. 

5 Cf. p. 136 and p. 166. 

r' The chapter on Punishments in the Shu-king, now entitled lAi-hsing. 

, Shu-king, Lu-hsing, Pt. V, Bk. XXVII, 4 {Legge, Vol. Ill, Pt. II, p. 592). 

s The ( 'hou epoch. The Chou calendar began with the lltli month, the Ch'in 
calendar with the 10th. In 】04 b.c. JIan Wii. Ti corrected the calendar, and made 
the year coniiiieiice with tlie 1st nioiitli, so the Chou were 2 months ahead with 
their months. 

Phenomenal Changes, 


In the central provinces frost, and snow-falls are of frequent occur- 
rence during the first and the second months. In tlie northern 
region, where it is very cold, frost may fall even during the third 
mouth, and that would not be an extraordinary phenomenon. Per- 
haps it was still cold in the north in the third month, and frost 
happened to fall, when by chance Tsou Yen gave vent to his feelings, 
Avliicli just coincided with the frost. 

It has been recorded that in Yen there was the " Cold Valley," 
wliere the five grains did not grow. Tsou Yen blew the llute, and 
the " Cold Valley " became warm. Consequently Tsou Yen was able 
to make the air warm, and also to make it cold. How do we 
Imow tliat Tsou Yen did not corainuuicate his grievances to his 
contemporaries, and instead manifested his sincerity through the 
heavenly fluid ? Did lie secretly blow the flute in the valley of 
Yen, and make the air of the prison cold, imploring Heaven for 
that purpose? For otherwise, why did the frost fall ? 

Fan Sui^ calumniated by Hs'ii C/iia was most disgracefully treat- 
ed by Wei Cli i, had his back broken, and his ribs doubled up. 
Chang Yi'^ while travelling in Ch' u, was arrested by the prime minister 
of Ch、t, and beaten, until the blood ran out. The way in which 
these two gentlemen were maltreated has been narrated by the 
Great Annalist, The imprisonment of Tsou Yen resembles the ad- 
ventures of Fan Sui and Chang Yi. Why does Sse Ma Cli ien omit 
to mention this? Since it is not mentioned in Tsou Yen's biography 
that during his imprisonment he caused the frost to fall, it must 
be an invention, and a random statement like the story of Prince 
Taw,* who is believed to have ordered the sun to return to the 

1 A native of Wei of humble origin, who first served under Hsii Chia, and 
accompanied him on a mission to the court of King Hsiang of Ch'i (696-683). This 
prince appreciating Fan Sui for his great dialectical skill, sent him some presents. 
Hsii Chia presuming that Fan Sui had betrayed some State secrets of Wei, denounced 
his servant to the premier of Wei, Wei Ch'i, who had him beaten almost to death. 
Fan Sui was then wrapped in a mat, and thrown into a privy, where the drunken 
guests urinated upon him. Still he managed to escape, and later on became minister 
in Ch'in. 

- Also a native of the Wei State from a poor family, who played a very 
important political role in Ch'in and Wei. In his youth, lie was suspected in Ch'u 
of having stolen a valuable gem, and severely beaten. Died 310 b.c. 

3 Shi-chi chap. 79 and 70. 

4 Prince Tan of Yen was detained as a hostage in the Ch'in State. Its sover- 
eign promised with an oath to set him free, when the sun returned to the meridian, 
and Heaven rained grain, when the crows got white heads, and the horses, horns, 
and when the wooden elephants, decorating the kitchen door, got legs of flesh. Heaven 



Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

meridian, 1 and Heaven to rain grain. Thus we may assume that 
the story about the frost falling down upon l^aou Yen imploring 
Heaven is untrue, and tliat the report of the wife of CKi Liang 
causing the city wall to collapse is false. 

When Tun-mao 2 rebelled, tlie Viscount Hsiang of Chao ^ led 
an army against it to iuvest it. When his soldiers had arrived 
at the foot of the city wall, more than one hundred feet of this 
wall of Tun-mao crumbled down. Viscount Hsiang thereupon sheathed 
his sword, and went back. If the wife of Cli i Liang caused tlie 
collapse of the city wall by her tears, was there anybody crying 
among Hsiang Tse's men? When CKin was about to be extinguish- 
ed, a city gate collapsed inside, and when the house of Ho Kuang^ 
was going to ruin, a wall of tlie palace was demolished of itself. 
Who was weeping in the Ch in palace, or crying in tlie house of 
Ho Ktiang ? The collapse of the gate, and the demolition of the 
wall were signs of the catastrophe awaiting CK in and Ho, 

Perhaps at the time, when the CJii State, was about to be 
subverted, the wife of Ch'i Liang happened to cry at the foot of the 
wall, just as Tsou Yen chanced to cry to Heaven, when it was still very 
cold in the Yen State. There was a correspondence of events and 
a concordance of time. Eye-witnesses and people who heard about 
it, most likely were of this opinion. Moreover, provided that the 
city wall was old, and the house-wall, rotteu, there must liave 
been a collapse, and a destruction. If the tears of one woman 
could make 50 feet of the wall tumble down, tlie wall must have 
been such, that one might have pushed a beam of 30 feet into it 
with one finger. 

During the Spring and Autumn period several mountains were 
transformed in an extraordinary way. Mountains and walls belong 
to the same class. If tears subvert a city wall, can they demolish 
a mountain also? U' somebody in white mourning like a woman 

helped the Prince, and brought about these wonders, when Tan was released, or, as 
others say, he made his escape in 230 b.c. The story is narrated in Lnin-heng V, 7 

1 The same is said of Hsin Yuan Ping (Shi-chi chap, 28 p. 19v), 
^ A city in Honan, 

3 456-424 B.C. 

4 A faithful servant of the Emperor Han Wu Ti, who appointed him Regent 
for his minor son, ( 'hao 7V. He died in ()8 b.c. His family was mixed up in a 
palace intrigue aiming at the deposition of the reigning emperor, which was dis- 
covered, when all the nieiiibers of liis family were exterminated. 

5 Instead of ( 'AV3 +已 , an old feudal State in Honan, we ought probably to read 
亏 pi^ , the nnme of the (Vi'i^ State in Shantmig, of which diU Liang was a native. 

Phenomenal Changes. 


cries so, that liis tears flow like rivers, people generally believe 
that a city wall can collapse through these tears, and regard it 
as quite the proper thing. But Cli i Liang died during the cam- 
paign, and did not return. His wife went to meet him. The Prince 
of Ln offered his condolence on the road, which his wife did not 
accept. When the coffin had arrived in her house, the Prince of 
Lu condoled with her again. ! She did not say a word, and cried 
at the foot of the wall. As a matter of fact, her husband had 
died in the campaign, therefore he was not in the wall, and, if his 
wife cried turned towards the city wall, this was not the right 
place. In short, it is again an unfounded assertion that the wife 
of Cli i Liang caused the city wall to tumble down by her tears; 

On this principle of sympathetic actions a white halo encir- 
cled the sun, when Ching iCo stabbed the king of Cliin,^ and Venus 
eclipsed the Pleiades, when the scliolar from Wei drew up tlie strat- 
agem of Cli aiig-ping for Cliin.'^ This again is an absurdity. When 
Yii Tse^ was planning the murder of Viscount Hsiang, and was lying 
under a bridge, Hsiang Tse's heart tlirobbed, as lie approached- the 
bridge. Kumt Kao*^ intended to murder Kao Tsii、 and liad concealed 
a man in the wall. When Kao Tsu arrived at Po-jen? liis heart 
also beat liigh.^ Those two individuals being about to stab the 
two princes, the hearts of the latter palpitated. If Ave reason in 
a proper way. 、ve cannot admit that tlie princes were affected by 
the souls of the two assassins, and should we do so in the case 
of the king of CK in'} Wlien i Idng Iv o was preparing to stab 
him, the king's heart was not moved, but a white halo encircled 

1 We leani from the Tso-chuan, Duke Hsiang 23rd year (550 b.c.) [Legge, 
Classics Vol. V, Pt. II, p. 504) and from the Liki, T'an Kaug Pt. Ill, 1 {Legge, Sacred 
Books Vol. XXVII, p. 188) that, when the bier of Ch'i JJanff was brought home to 
(.Vt i, the Marquis of Ch'i, Chuang, sent an officer to present his condolences, but 
the widow declined them, because the road was not tlie proper place to accept 
condolences. The Marquis then sent them to her house. The " Prince of Lu " of 
our text is probably a misprint, for why should the prince of Lu condole in Ch'i? 

~ The Lieh-nu-chuan relates that Ch'i Liang's wife cried seven days over her 
husband's corpse under the city wall, until it collapsed, and then died by jumping 
into a river. 

3 Cf. chap. XXXIX and XL. 

4 Cf. p. 114. 

;' I'ii Jang, a native of the Chin State, who made an unsuccessful attempt on 
tiie life of Viscount Hsiang of Chao, who had killed his master, Earl C'hih. Vid. 
chap. XXIX. 

6 A minister of Chao. 

7 A place in the prefecture of Skun-te-fu {Chili}. 

8 This attempt on the life of Han Kao Tsu in 199 b.c. was frustrated. 


Lnn-Heng: B. Metapliysiral. 

the sun. This celestial plienomenon of a white halo encircling the 
sun happened of its own accord, and it was not tlie mind of Cldng 
K'o wliicli produced it. 

Mercury between tlie constellations of tlie House and tlie Heart 
denotes an impending earth-quake. When an eartli-quake is going* 
to take place, Mercury corresponds to the Home and tlie Heart. The 
ofFuscation of the Pleiades by Verms is like the position of Mercury 
between the House and the Heart. Therefore the assertion that tlie 
design of CI 【出 "j-i; 'mg, devised by tlie scholar from Wei^ caused Verms 
to eclipse the J^leiades, is very doubtful. 

When Jupiter injured the Bird ^ and tlie Tail stars, ^ Chou and 
CKu Avere visited with disasters, and when a feather-like fluid ap- 
peared, Sung, Wei^ Chen, and C/teng suHerecl inisfortuoes. At that 
time, Choti and C/iu had not done any wrong, nor had Sung, Wei, 
ChSn, or Cheng committed any wickedness. However, Jupiter first 
occupied the place of the Tail star, and the fluid of misfortune, for 
a while, descended from heaven, \vliereu})on Chou a ad CJi n had tlieir 
disasters, and Sung, Wei,, Chen^ and Cheng sufiereel likewise at the 
same time. Jupiter caused injury to Chou and CK u、 as the heaven- 
ly fluid did to the four States. Wlio knows but that the white 
halo encircling- the sun, caused the attempt on the life of the king' 
of Ch in, and that Venus eclipsing tlie Pleiades, brought about the 
stratagem of CJi ang-p ing7 

1 The star Cor Hydra , mentioned in the Shu-king (of. Legye Vol. Ill, Pt. I, p. 19.) 
- The "Tail" is a constellation consisting of nine stai's in the tail of Scorpio, 
the 6th of the 28 Solar Mansions. 

On Reprimands. 


On Reprimands {Ch'ien-kao). 

In regard to extraordinary calamities they say that, when of 
old a sovereign in his administration departed from the right way, 
Heaven reprimanded liiin by visiting him with calamities. Those 
calamities are manifold. Heat and cold are put forward as proof. 
When a prince punishes at a wrong time, it becomes cold, and 
when he grants rewards, but not at the rig] it inoineut, it becomes 
warm. The Spirit of Heaven reprimands a sovereign in the same 
manner, as a, sovereign shows his displeasure to his subjects. There- 
fore King Yen of Cli u^ said, "Heaven does not send down mis- 
fortunes. Has Heaven forgotten me?" Those calamities are a 
reproof, therefore King thought of tliem with fear. 

I say that this seems very doubtful to me. The calamities of 
a State are like the misfortunes of an individual. If they say that 
Heaven reprimands a sovereign throiigli calamities, docs it also 
reprove an individual through his mis fortunes? Since the indi- 
vidua] is knoAvn to us, we may make use of the human body for 
comparison. A sickness of the body is like a calamity from Heaven. 
When the circulation of the blood is not in order, a mau contracts 
a disease, and wlien the wind and the air do not agree, the year 
develops calamities. Provided that Heaven blames tlie adminis- 
tration of a State by calamities, does it blame an individual by 
his sickness? 

By fermenting wine in jars, and cooking meat in cauldrons, 
one wishes to make their tastes palatable. Sometimes they are 
too salty, bitter, sour, or insipid, and not to our taste, just as a 
spoonful of medicine does not taste well. The calamities of Heaven 
are like the bad taste of cooked meat or fermented wine. If calam- 
ities are believed to be expressive of Heaven's displeasure, we 
ought to see such manifestations also in case of a mistake in 
cooking or fermenting. One measures big things by small ones, 
and learns to know Heaven, if one understands analogies. 

1 836-826 B.C. 


Lun - Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

Were King Yens knowledge like that of Confucius, liis utter- 
ance could be believed, but as a leading prince during a time of 
decay, he did not possess more ability than the plienomenalists, ^ 
and his words are not to be trusted. Hence my doubts. 

Heaven's principle, spontaneity, consists in inaction. If it did 
reprimand people, that would be action, and not spontaneous. The 
school of Huang Ti and Lao Tse arguing on Heaven's principle have 
found the truth. 

If Heaven could really reprimand the sovereign, it should 
change tlie fluid to call his attention. In case the prince punished 
at the wrong time, the fluid of punishment would be cold, and 
Heaven ought to make it warm, and should the prince reward 
unseasonably, the fluid of reward would be warm, and it would 
be incumbent upou Heaven to make it cold. A transmutation of 
the fluid in case of the perversion of government would call the 
attention of the sovereign to his fault. No、v Heaven lets the cold 
and the heat go on, and again causes cold and heat with a view 
to reprove the sovereign, and to induce him to change. 

The illustrious prince Tan Fu^ thinking tliat he might elevate 
the later king Chi, on purpose changed his name of Chi into Li, 
which is synonymous with ti = ' heir.' '1" ai Po took the hint, and 
went to collect medicines in Wu and Yi'ieh in order to get out of 
King Chis way. 3 Had tlie illustrious prince not changed the name 
of Chi, and again styled him Li, how could the eldest son have 
taken tlie hint, and got himself out of the way ? Now, if rewards 
and punishments are not given in the proper way, and Heaven 
wishes a change of administration, it ought to use a different fluid, 
just as the illustrious prince changed the name of Chi. Instead of 
that it again produces the same fluid to sliow its displeasure to 
the sovereign, but, when will tlie latter become aware of it, and 
see the mistake he has made in rewarding and jjunishing? 

When a guitar-player makes a mistake in tightening the cords 
and placing the bridges, " kung " and " shnig " * change tlieir tunes. 
When the music-master hears it, he changes the strings, and shifts 
the bridges. Heaven sees mistakes in rewarding and punishing, 
as the music-master takes notice of the wrong handling of the cords 
and bridges. If Heaven did not change the fluid to rouse tlie 

1 Who explain natural phenomena by transcendent causes. 

2 The grandfather of Wen Wan</, the founder of the Chou dynasty. 

3 Of. p. 131. 

* The first and tlic second of tlie five ancient notes of the Chinese gamut. 

On Reprimands. 


sovereign, on the contrary, still increased it, and made the wrong 
worse, it would be unprincipled, and blindly commit the same 
mistake as the sovereign, which cannot be. 

Chou had banquets lasting tlie whole night ; Wen Wang said 
every morning and evening, "Pour out this wine in libation." i Ch'i^ 
was very extravagant in sacrifices: Yen Tse^ offered a sucking pig 
in the temple, which did not fill the dish.* Such disapprobation was 
necessary to bring about a change. 

When sons and younger brothers are impudent, their fathers 
and older brothers instruct them in politeness. When officials be- 
have rudely, their elders teach them good manners. K ang Shi, and 
Po Ch' in" disregarded the duties of sons and younger brothers. They 
called upon Chou Kung, prostrated themselves, and rose in a haughty 
manner. Thrice they called, and thrice they were bambooed. They 
A\ ent to see Sliang TseJ Shang Tse bade them look at the pine and 
the Rottlera. Both looked at the pine and the Rottlera. Their 
hearts were moved, they cauglit the meaning, and understood the 
rules of etiquette to be observed between father and son.® 

Chou Kiuig might have followed the two princes in their 
haughtiness, and Shang Tse might have imitated their arrogance, but 
it was necessary to resort to blows and parables to make them 
see the difference, and awaken their conscience by this strange 
procedure. The wrong government of a sovereign is like the bad 
behaviour of the two princes. If Heaven did not make any an- 
nouncement about the style of government in order to rouse tlie 
conscience, just as tlie two princes were roused, wlien looking at 
tlie pine and Rottlera, but on the contrary made the mistake in 
rewarding and punishing his own by requiting the sovereign Avitli 
heat and cold. Heaven's fault would not be less tlian that of the 

It cannot be the intention of high Heaven that people's con- 
science should not be roused, and that one fluid should be exactly 
like the other. It would not love its subjects, nor reprimand 
them ill this way. All things which can destroy one another, must 

1 Shuking Part V, Bk. X, 2 {Legge, Vol. Ill, Pt. II, p. 3.99) cf. chap. XXXIX. 

2 The CKi State in Shantung , 

3 Yen Yiriff, an official of Ck'i, noted for his thrifty habits, died 493 b.c. 

4 So small was the offering. 

5 A younger brother of Chou Kung , the first Duke of We/. 

(; A son of Chou Kung and his successor in the Dukedom of La. 

7 A minister of Wti Wang, 

s The lofty pine and the low Rottlera tree are emblems of father and son. 


Lull - Heiig : B. Metaphysical. 

have a different nature, whereas those which further and complete 
each other, are of tlie same fluid. LP below and Tui - above are 
called transformation's which is equivalent to change. Fire and 
metal are different fluids, therefore they can change one another. 
If tliey were both fire, or both metal, liow could they complete 
eacli other? 

Ch'ii Yilan was sick of the stench and filtli* of CIiu, therefore 
he composed the stanzas on perfumes and purity. The fisherman 
reinoustrated with liim for not following tlie common habits, there- 
upon 】ie spoke the words on batliing, "Whenever a man feels un- 
clean, some will advise liim to put on fragrant flowers, others to 
carry a pig. Botli advices aim at removing stciicli and filth. Which 
is right, and wliicli wrong ? ^ At all events, there must be a change, 
but no increase by any means. If lieat and cold are produced as 
a protest against rewarding or punishing, could they be changed 
thereby tlien ? 

Hsi Men P(io& used to tighten his leather belt to soothe himself, 
and Tung An Yil ^ would loosen the strings of liis girdle to stimulate 
liim self. These two wise men knew that tlie belt and the girdle 
will lielp us to change countenance, consequently they made use 
of the 111 for the purpose of repressing their bodily wealmess, wliicli 
was very intelligent indeed. If In case of bad government of a 
sovereign liigli Tloaveii did not reprimand liira with another fluid, 
that he might change, on the contrary, followed Lis error, emitting tlie 
same fluid, Heaven's wisdom would be inferior to tliat of tlie two men. 

King Ckuang of CJiu ® liad a passion for limiting', therefore 
Lady Fan did not eat any game, or poultry. Duke Mu of Chin ® 
was very fond of voluptious music, for this reason the Princess of 
Hua Yang declined to listen to the tunes of Cli eng and Wei}^ The 


1 The 3rd diagram. 

2 The 58th diagram. 

3 In the terminology of the Yi - king. 

4 Filth in a niotaphorical sense. 

r, Tlie first, advice of course. Bad odour can he removed by its contrary, 
perfuines, but not by more stench. 

G A worthy of the 5th century u.r. [Giles ^ Biogr. Diet N. 678). 

7 Another famous character of old {Giles, Biogr. Did. N. 20S8). Giles gives 
another version of the peculiarities of the two gentlemen regarding their belts. Cf. 
chap. XXXI. 

8 612-589 li.c. 
« 658-619. 

1" The music of these two States was considered licentious, and most ob- 

On Repriiiiaiifls. 


two ladies found fault with the iw o princes. Tliey opposed their 
wishes, and did not agree to wliat they did. Heaven, on the other 
hand, shows its disapproval of the sovereign's rewarding and 
punishing" by letting liim act as he pleases, and still increasing tlie 
fluid. Thus the virtue of high Heaven would not be equal to that 
of the two wise ladies. 

To remonstrate means to reject by words. To keep the good, 
and reject the bad must certainly be regarded as a mistake. King 
Mu of Chou relied on punishments. In the Chapter ou Punishments 
lie says that violence is requited with force, i Force and violence 
are both bad. To requite evil with evil is the most sei'ious misrule. 
Now, in criminal law not to give mercy, when it should be given, 
is wicked. Heaven, however, adds wrong to wrong to correspond to 
it. Thus Heaven would act like King Mu. 、 

With goodness one combats badness, and with badness good 
people are frightened. This is the way to admonish people, and 
to induce them to do good. Shnn exhorted Yil saying : ― "Be not 
as overbearing as Tan Chu'' - Chou Kung called King CJi eng and 
said to him, "Be not like King Ghent of Fm." ^ ' Not ' is prevent- 
ive. Tan Chii and Chou of Yin were the greatest scoundrels, there- 
fore tlie word ' not , was used to prevent tliem (from following 
their exain])le): Shwi and Clum Kiwg said "Be not like," who would 
say "Be like? " The Sages discriminated between the positive and 
the negative, would they have reproved the wrong doing by doing 
wrong themselves, or would they by continuing the faults of others 
have even increased the evil ? Heaven and man obey the same 
law, and great men equal Heaven. in virtue. Sages and worthies 
reform bad people by goodness. If Heaven added wrong to evil, would 
that be a manifestation of the same law, or show the similarity of virtue ? 

The emperor Hsiao Wu ^ took a great interest in immortals. 
Sse Ma Hsiang Jii^ presented to him a poem on the Great Man, by 
which the emperor became so excited, that he felt like flying up 
to the clouds. The emperor Hsiao Ch eng ' was very fond of buildino; 

1 In the Shu-king, Lii-hsing Pt. V, Bk. XXVU, 5 {Legge Vol. 111, Pt. II, p. 593) 
King Mu uses these words with reference to Huang Ti, who in this manner repressed 
tlie lawlessness of the Miao-tse. 

2 Shu-king, Yih-chi Pt. II, Bk. IV, 1. 

3 Shu-king, Wu-yi Pt. V, Bk. XV, 13 {Legge Vol. III, Pt. II, p. 471). 

4 Hsiao Wu 二 Han Wu Ti, 140-86 b.c. 

5 A distinguished scholar and poet. 

6 The emperor Han Ww Ti was infatuated with alchemy, and the magical arts 
taught by the Taoists. 

* Hsiao Clieng ― Han CKeng Ti, 32-6 B.C. 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

big palaces. Yang Tse Yiin ^ oflered him a hymn on the Kan-cJiilan 
palace's which lie extolled as something supernatural, as if he were 
saying that liuman force could not achieve such a work, and that 
spirits must have lent their aid. Hsiao Cli eng, without knowing- 
it, was induced thereby to go on building. If Sse Ma Ilsiang 'Ju in 
his poem spoke of immortals, lie had no proof for it, and, if Yang 
Tse Yiin wrote a panegyric on extravagance, lie did the emperor a 
bad service. How could Hsiao Wu have the feeling of flying, and 
how could Hsiao Cli eng be under a delusion without knowing it? 
If Heaven does not use another fluid to reprimand the sovereign, 
on the contrary meets his wishes, and responds to him with evil, 
he acts like the two scholars, who imposed upon the two emperors 
by their poetry so, that their conscience was not roused. 

Toil Ying and Kuan Fu^ were so disgusted with the wickedness 
of the time, that every day tliey mutually pulled a string to fasten 
their hearts. Their disgust was such, that they would, on no account, 
have yielded to their desires. T ai Po * taught the W^i^ to wear a 
cap and a girdle, how would he have followed their customs, and 
been naked, as they were? Thus the Wu learnt propriety and 
rigtheousness, and it was T( ai Po who changed their customs. Su 
Wu^ went to live among the Hsiungnu, but he never buttoned his 
coat on the left side.7 Chao T'o^ lived among the southern Ydieh.^ 
He would sit down, spreading out his legs, and wear his hair in 
a tuft upon a frame. At the court of the Han , Su Wu was prais- 
ed, and Chao T o blamed, because he had taken to the uncivilised 
fashions of the Y.ih'h, abandoning the cap and the girdle. Lu Chi a !。 
spoke to him about the costume of the Chinese, and their polished 

1 The philosopher Yang Hsiung, a philosopher of note of the Confucian school, 

53 B.C.- 18 A.D. 

'2 A celebrated palace near Hsi-an-fu (Ch'ang-an) originally founded by Chin 
Shift Huang Ti. 

3 Two high officers of the 2iid cent. b.c. Cf. chap. XVIII. 

4 Cf. p. 131. 

Aborigines in modern Kiangsu. 

r' In 100 B.C. Su Wu was sent as enovy to the HMungnu, who kept him 
prisoner for about nineteen years. Thougii the Hsiungnu made every endeavour to 
will liiiM over to their cause, he never threw oU" his allegiance to. the Han, where- 
fore lie is praised as a paragon of loyalty. 

' Only a bai'haiian would button his coat on tlie left side, a Chinaman will 
hiittoii it on the right. 

s A famous general of the 2iid cent, k.c, who subjugated the southern bar- 
barians, and subsequently became their king. (Cf. chap. XXXI.) 

" Aborigines in Canton province. 
10 Cf. chap. XXXI. . 

On Reprimands. 


manners, and held up their morality to him. Chao T o felt remorse, 
and turned his heart back to his native laud. Had Lu Chia again 
used the dress of the Yiieh, and their barbarian language, and follow- 
ed their wild customs, how could lie have caused Chao T o to feel 
remorse, to reform,, and to adopt again the rules of Han. A diver- 
gence of government, and culture necessitates the use of different 
language, and different arguments. If a bad governmeut be not 
transformed, it goes on as before. 

In case that a sovereign be reprimanded for a mistake, but 
that his bad government be not changed, and his wrong continued, 
why is the advice given him as a reproof not heeded? ― When 
Kuan Shu Hsien and T'sai Shu Tu i were revolting, C.hou Kung remon- 
strated with them several times. Did lie tell them that they should 
revolt, when he admonished them? 

It is hum a a law to like good, and hate evil, to do good as 
reward, and to inflict evil as punishment. The law of Heaven must 
be the same. Now. if rewards and punishments be not meted out 
in the proper way, there is evil. Should the fluid of evil respond 
to it, the principle of hating the evil would not be preserved. 

The Han improved the punishments for the hiding of crimin- 
als, and fixed penalties for the assistance given to accomplices to 
make their escape. They were indignant that the criminals found 
helpers, and that bauds were organised. By restraining the prison- 
ers, when they were taken before the magistrates, and separating 
them frem bad characters, keeping them in different places, the law 
concerning the hiding of criminals, and tlie absconding of the accom- 
plices might have been dispensed with. 

Ti Ya knew how to give the right flavour to what be was 
cooking. When it was too sour, he poured water in, and, when 
it was tasteless, he added salt. Water and fire mixing and trans- 
forming one another, the food became neither too salty, nor too 
tasteless. Now. if in case of improper rewarding or punishing the 

1 Two brothers of Chou Kung and of Wu Wang, who attempted to deprive 
their nephew ( 'h'cng VTang of the throne, but their rebellion was put down by 
Chou Kung. 

2 A new law was enacted in the 4th year of the Emperor Ilsuan Ti (70 a.d.), 
by which descendants concealing their ascendants, and wives hiding their husbands 
guilty of a crime, were to be acquitted, whereas ascendants and husbands doing the 
same for their sons and wives, had to suffer capital punishment. Descendants vvere 
no doubt under a moral obligation to help their ascendants under any circumstances, 
but the same moral law did not exist for ascendants towards their sous. (Cf. t'h ien 
Honshu chap. 8 p. 11.) 


Lun - Heiig: R. Metapliysic;il. 

fault is not made good by another fluid, cold being still added to 
cold, and lieat to beat, this would be like finding a food too sour, 
and adding salt, or thinking it too insipid, and pouring water in. 
Hence, are there not serious doubts about the alleged reprimands 
of Heaven, or must we believe in them? 

When by burning fuel one beats a cauldron, the water in it 
boils, if the fire is strong, but it remains cool, if the fire is weak. 
Government is like the fire, heat and cold like boiling and coolness. 
Speaking of the government of a sovereign, we may say that he 
does not keep the right medium in rewarding and punishing, but 
in case the Yin and the Yang are in disorder, and tlie fluids not 
in liartnony, are we justified in saying that Heaven produces 
heat or cold for the sovereign's sake with the object of reprov- 
ing him? 

The savants also maintain that, when the administration of a 
sovereign is bad. Heaven sends extraordinary events. If lie does 
not change, Heaven visits his people with misfortunes, and if he 
does not reform even then, it visits his own person. That is to 
say: ― first extraordinary events, afterwards calamities, first exhor- 
tations, then punishments. I doubt this likewise. If one plants 
something in summer, it withers, aud does not grow, and if one 
reaps corn in autumn, ' it lies about and cannot be harvested. Ad- 
ministration and instruction may be compared to planting and reap- 
ing. We may say that in governing the right time lias been missed, 
but can we pretend that, in ease of disasters caused by fluids or 
other things, Heaven lias sent extraordinary events to reprimand 
the sovereign, and that, because the latter did not reform, Heaven 
sent down misfortune upon liini in order to slay him? These 
opinions of the literati are those of illiterate people. 

In mid-summer the Ya»g fluid is broiling hot. The Yin fluid 
rushes against it, and there is a hissing, shooting forth, aud crashing. 
When a human being is hit by it, and killed, they liokl that Heaven 
lias punished him for his hidden sins. To a superficial observer 
this may seem quite likely, but in reality it is not so. First tliey 
pretend that calamitous events serve to reprimand, and punish a 
sovereign, and then aga'in they say that a man killed by a thunder- 
stroke is punished for his hidden crimes, 一 a wrong statement, and 
an untenable assertion ! 

8()ini' say that Ku Tse Yiln in a memorial to the emperor ex- 
plained that extraordinary plieiioiiuMia were visible signs of Heaven's 

Which begins in November. 

On Rcpriii Kinds. 


reprimands, wlii (; li would be repeated, unless a change took place. ^ 
He was prepared to aw ait that time iu fetters. Subsequently they 
were repeated in fact. Wherefore were they repeated, provided 
that tliey were not meant as reprimands? For these reasons the 
words of Ku Tse Yiln were later oq used as an incentive to reforms. 

My reply is that in case of extraordinary phenomena the Yin 
and tlie Yang can be (leteriuined beforeliancl. The fluids of all 
tilings, of course, have their beginning and their end. Walking upon 
frost, one knows that hard ice will necessarily follow. That is 
Heaven's law. Ku Tse Yiln possessed tliis subtle ]<nowleclge, and 
was aware of wliat subsequently was bound to happen. Therefore 
lie borrowed the tlieoiy of the plienominalists to corroborate his 
own view. Thus 】ie was resolved to await the time in fetters. 
Just like Yen Tse of C]ii.r wlio saw tlie ' Hook ' star 3 between 
the constellations of the ' House ' ^ and tlie ' Heart ? he knew that 
there would be an earth-quake. Had Ku Tse Yiin seen the 'Hook' 
star, he would again have said tliat tlirougli this star Heaven ex- 
pressed its displeasure, and that, unless tlie government was clianged, 
an earth-quake would happen. Ku Tse Yiln was looking out for the 
time to come as Tse Wel^ did, who fell down on the steps of the 
throne to await that tlie planet Mars should shift its position, an 
event wh'icli was sure to take place. Hence the tlieory of re- 
primands was believed. If we admit it, would it be contrary to 
justice, or injure high Heaven's virtue? Spontaneity and inaction 
would be liumauised thereby, therefore we cannot listen to it. 

By crediting Heaven with the power of reprimanding, one 
extols its wisdom in investigating tlie truth. However, this wisdom 
would conflict with Heaven's excellence. " How do we know that 
any one is deaf? 一 If he hears distinctly. ― How do we know that 
lie is blind ? 一 If lie sees clearly. 一 How do we know that he is 
mad?— If lie talks properly." ' Proper talking, and clear and dist- 
inct hearing and seeing is what the Taoist school calls madness, 

1 In 34 B.C. Ku Tse Ywi = Ku Yung attributed an eclipse and an earth-quake 
to the excessive favour shown by the emperor to the ladies of his seraglio. He 
wrote many memorials against the abuses of the palace. 

2 Cf. p. 121. 

3 The planet Mercury. 

4 The stars Beta, Delta, Pi, and Nun, in the head of Scorpio. 
° The stars Antares, Sigma, and Tau, in the heart of Scorpio, 
r' Cf. p. 158. 

7 A Taoist rhyme; quoted from the Lu-shih-cKun-cKiu. See also Huai Nan 
Tse XVn, Iv: ― "He who hears tlie sounding sound is deaf, but he who hears the 
soundless sound is quick at hearing.'' 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

blindness, and deafness.^ No、v to speak of Heaven's reprimanding 
would therefore be tautamount to calling it mad, blind, and deaf. 

The Yi-king says that the great man equals Heaven and Earth 
in virtue.- Therefore T'ai Po^ holds that Heaven does not speak, 
but that its law is ingrafted in the hearts of the wise. Con- 
sequently, tlie virtue of the great man is the virtue of Heaven, and 
the words of the wise are the words of Heaven. When the great man 
reproves, and the wise rebuke, it is Heaven which reprimands, and yet 
people see its reprimands in calamitous events, which I cannot believe. 

In the text of the Six Classics^ and in the discourses of the 
Sages every now and then Heaven is referred to, because they 
intend to reform the lawless, and to frighten the ignorant. They 
wish to make it understood that what they say is not only their 
private opinion, but that it is Heaven's thought also. They speak 
of Heaven, as if they were dealing with a human heart, for it is 
not the blue empyrean which they have in view. The phenomena- 
lists hearing the unfounded assertion that the calamitous events 
of Heaven always happen at a fixed time, have therefrom derived 
the theory of reprimands. 

The past affords us a key for the present. Heaven acts 
through man " [Shun) received {Yao's) abdication from the Accom- 
plished Ancestor." 5 It is not said that he received tlie abdication 
from Heaven. From Yao's heart we learn to know Heaven's senti- 
ments. Yao made an appointment, and Heaven did the same, and all 
the officials, and subjects became inclined towards Shun. Shun ap- 
pointed Yil, and Yil transmitted the sway to Ch'i. In all these cases we 
learn from the human heart, what Heaven*s feelings were like. As re- 
gards the "affectionate looks" of the Shi-king& and the "mighty anger" in 
the Hung-fan、i the human body serves to exemplify Heaven's feelings. 

1 The Taoists despise the natural organs: ― tlie eye, the ear, the mouth, and 
pretend to see with a spiritual eye, to hear with a spiritual ear, etc. 

2 Yi-king, 1st diagram [CKien). 

3 The son of Tan-fii (cf. p. 120). 

4 We now speak of the Five Classics: — Yi-king, Shu-king, Shi-king, Liki, and 
CKun-ctiiu. During the I【an period the "Book of Music ' was added, ranking as 
the fifth Classic before the ( ■liun-cliiu. 

S/m-kiriff, Shun-tien Pt. II, Bk. I, 2 {Legge, Vol. Ill, Pt. I, p. 32) According 
to the couinieiitators this passage means that Shan received the empire from Y"o 
before the slii ine of the latter' s ancestor, who thus might he regarded as the donor, 
f' Vid. p. 134. ' 

' We read in the Shu-kin;/, lluny-fan Pt. V, Bk. IV, H [Legge, Vol. IU, Pt. U, 
p. 323) *' K\m dammed up tlie inundating waters, and thereby threw into disorder 
the arrajigeiuent of the five elements, Guil was thereby roused to anger." 

On Rei)nniands. 


When King Wen and King Wu had (lied, King Clieng was 
still an infant, and the institutions of the CIiou dynasty were not 
yet completed. The duke of Chou acted as lord protector, but there 
Avas no special instruction from Heaven. The duke of Chou asked 
his own heart, and conformed to the intentions of Heaven. 

The heart of high Heaven is in the bosom of the Sages. 
When Heaven reprimands, it is done througli the mouths of the 
Sages. Yet people do not believe the words of the Sages. They 
trust in the fluid of calamitous events, and strive to make out 
Heaven's meaning therefrom. Why go so far? But, should there be 
no sages during a generation, 、vhere are their words to come from? 一 
Wise men, whose talents are almost up to the mark, rank closely 
after the Sages. 

Lun - TIeng. 


Lun -Heng: B. Metaphysical. 


Heaven's Original Gift {Ch'u-ping). 

A man predestinated at his birth for wealth and honour, is 
imbued with the spontaneous fluid from the beginning. After he 
has been brought up, and grown to manhood, his lucky fate mani- 
fests itself. 

Wen Wang received a scarlet bird, Wu Wany^ a white fish and 
a red crow. ^ The scholars are of opinion that with the bird 
Heaven's decree was transmitted to Wen Wang, which in the case 
of Wu Wang was done by the fish and the crow. Thus Wen Wang 
and Wu Wang would 】mve received tlieir fate from Heaven, which 
used the bird, the fish, and tlie crow to pass it on to them. Heaven 
used a scarlet bird to invest Wen Wang, but Wen Wang did not re- 
ceive the mandate of Heaven."^ Then Heaven took a fish and a 
crow, and enfeoffed Wu Wang. This would imply that primarily 
the two received no fate from above, and that it was not before 
they purified themselves, and did good, and the news thereof 
readied Heaven, that Heaven endowed them with imperial honours. 
The bird, the fish, and the crow would then be heavenly messengers 
carrying the investiture, which emperors must have received to 
liave the power over life and death. However, a thorough investi- 
gation shows us that fate lias notliing to do with these cases. 

Fate is what comes over people at the. beginning, when they 
are created. They then receive their mind as Avell as their fate. 
Mind and fate come together and at the same time. The mind 
does not precede, or fate follow. How can this be made clear? 

Clip served under Yao as territorial official, became super- 
intendant of agriculture, and tlierefrom received the title of" Lord 
of Agriculture (Hou Chi). His great-grandson Duke Liu lived at T' ai, 
but later on moved to Pin. 4 His great-great-grandson Tan Fu, the 

1 Cf. Shi-chi, chap. 4 p. 8 [Chavannrs, Mp'm. Hist. Vol. I, p. 216 Note 1 , and p. 226) . 

2 Wen Wanr/ did not yet attain the imperial dignity, which subsequently de- 
volved upon his son, Wu Wuncj. 

3 The ancestor of the (■hou dynasty. 

4 T ai and Pin were botli situated in S/iensi. 

Heaven s Oripnal Gift. 


" Old Duke" had three sons: ― T ai Po、 Cliung Yung and Chi Li. 
The son of Chi Li was Ch ang, the later Wm Wang. When he was 
still in his SAvaddling clothes, there appeared portents indicative of 
his lioliness. Therefore Tan Fa said: -— "It is througli Cli ang that 
my family will become illustrious." When T ai Po * heard of it, 
he retired to 11 w/- tattooed himself, and cut his hair in order to 
make room for Chi Li. Wen Waug is believed to have met with his 
fate at that period. Vet Heaven's late is already at work, when 
man comes into being. Tan Fu, the Old Duke, found it out very 
soon, but it Avas already there, before Wen Wang was even con- 
ceived by his mother. The fate wliich emperors acquire becomes 
their mind internally aud their body externally. To the body 
belong the features and the osseous structure, which man gets at 
his birth. 

Officials witli a yearly income of more than a hundred piculs, 
but of a lower rank than princes and counts, such as lang-clnang^^ 
ht-fu, and yuan-shih^^ or provincial officials like iiiteudants and pre- 
te (; ts, in sliort, all salaried functionaries have obtained a fate pre- 
destinating them for wealth and honour, wliicli after their birth is 
apparent in their faces. Hsil Fu and Ku Pu Tse Ch wg perceived 
these signs.5 Officials rise in office, some to the ranks of lords 
and ministers. They are predestinated to graudeur and a very 
exalted position. An emperor possesses the liigliest dignity, and 
his rank is the most exalted. At his birtli, lie is euclowed with a 
glorious fate, and his body shows peculiar signs of nobility at that 
time. The "• Old Duke " was well aware of this, Avlien he beheld 
the remarkable four nipples,^ lor these four nipples were the marks 
of a Sage. Wen Wa?iff received the heavenly decree making him a 
sage, when lie was still in his mother's womb, or did the four 
nipples grow only, after he had become a man, and practised virtue? 

1 The Shi'chi chap. 4 p. 4 relates that T^ai Po as well as Ch'ung Yung, 
whom the Shi-chi styles YU Ch'rnig, retired to the barbarians out of regard for their 
younger brother Chi Id, 

2 The kingdom of Wu^ the modern province of Kiangm, at that time still 
inhabited by aborigines, hence the tattooing. ― 

3 Chamberlains of the Palace Guard. 

4 These offices are mentioned by Me?icins Bk. V, Pt. II, chap. 2, who informs 
us that a chief minister had four times as much income as a ta-fv, and a ta-fu 
twice as much as a yuan-shih. Legge translates "great officer" and "scholar of 
the first class,". which does not say much. I would like to say '* Director of a De- 
partment ,, and " First Clerk." 

5 Two renowned physiognomists, cf. chap. XXIV. 
G A peculiarity of Wen Wang, cf. chap. XXIV. 



Lun - Hong: B. Metaphysical. 

As regards the four nipples, we know also that lambs have them 
already as embryos. Dame Liu sleeping by a big lake dreamt 
tliat she met with a genius, and thereupon gave birth to K(io-Tm: 
At that time, he had already obtained his fate : When Kuang Wu '- 
was bom in the Chi-yaug palace, a brilliant light shone in the room 
at midnight, though there was no fire. One of the soldiers Su 
Yung said to the secretary Cliung Lan: 一 " This is a lucky thing," 
and nothing more. 3 At that time Kuang Wii had already got his 
destiny. The assertion that Wen Wang and Wu Wang received 
Heaven's decree together with the scarlet bird, the fish, and the 
crow is, therefore, erroneous. Heaven's order once being issued, 
an emperor arises, and there is no further need for another decree. 

Favoured with a fate conferring the highest distinctions upon 
tliem, emperors are born as a matter of course, as will be seen 
from the following : ― Old men of wealthy families hoard up thou- 
sands of chin. 4 They come into the world with the pliysiognoniies 
of rich men. They work, and produce, and amass wealth, until, 
in their old age, they have become rich old folks. Emperors are 
tlie old men in possession of the empire. Their fate is inherent to 
their bodies, precisely as with birds tlie distinction between cocks 
and liens exists already in tlie egg-sliell. When tlie eggs are 
hatched, cocks and liens creep out. After days and months their 
bones wax stronger, and at last the cocks pair with the liens quite 
of their own accord. They are not taught to do so, after tliey 
have grown up so, that they would dare to pair only then. This 
is a spontaneous act, after their constitution has been strengthened. 
Now emperors are the cocks in tlie empire. They are destined to 
become emperors. This, their destiny comes down upon them, when 
they are still in an embryonic state in the same manner, as the 
future grandees get tlieir peculiar physiognomies, 、、- liicli tliey possess 
at their birth, anil as the cocks are formed in the egg. 

This is not only true of men and birds, but of all organisms. 
Plants and trees grow from seeds. They pierce the earth as sprouts, 
by tlieir further growth stem and leaves are formed. Their length 
and coarseness are developed from the seeds. Emperors are the 
acme of greatness. The stalk of tlie " vermilion grass " is like a 
needle, tlie sapling oi" tlie " purple boletus " like a bean. Both 

1 See p. 177. 

2 The first emperor of the Later Han Dynasty, 25—58 a.d. 

3 Cf. p. 18p. 

4 Old coins. 

Heaven's Original Oift. 

】 :W 

plants are auspicious. There is something auspicious about 
emperors also, who come into existence, endowed witli the hea- 
venly fluid. 

Some people believe that emperors have received Heaven's 
decree, when they are born, but that Heaven invests them again, 
wlien they assume the supreme poAver, just as lords, ministers, and 
tlie lower grades await the imperial brevet, before they dare to 
take charge of their post, and that the scarlet bird, tlie fish, and 
the crow were emblems of the investiture by august Heaven. That 
would mean that human airairs are ordered and regulated by 
Heaven's interference, whereas spontaneity and inaction are the 
principles of Heaven. To enfeoff Wen Wang by means of a scarlet 
bird, and Wu Wang through a white fish, would be on purpose. 

Kuan Chung divided gain with Pao Shu i and apportioned more 
to himself; Pao Shu did not give it liirn, and he did not ask for 
it. 3 That is, they knew each other, one regarded the other as his 
own self, and had no scruples about taking anything for himself. 
A Sage takes tlie empire, as Kuan Chung the property.^ Amongst 
friends their is no question about giving or taking. August Heaven 
is spontaneous.^ If it really issued orders, then its principle 
would be purpose, whereas friendsliip is spontaneous. 

When Han Kao Tsu slew the big snake, ^ wlio prompted him 
to do so? Did an order from Heaven arrive first, which encouraged 
him to do the deed? It was au outburst of his valour, a spontaneous 
impulse. The slaying of the big snake, the destruction of Ch iu? 
and tlie killing of Ilsiang Yii^^ all amount to the same. That tlie 
two Cliou emperors Wen Wang and Wu Wang received Heaven's de- 
cree, and defeated the Yin dynasty, must be understood in the 

1 Kuan Chang and Pao Shu 】," lived in the 6th cent. b.c. They were in- 
timate friends, and are the Chinese Damon and Pythias. 

2 The Shi'chi chap. 62 p. Iv, Biography of Kuan Chung, states that Kuan 
Chung cheated his friend. He there admits himself that in doing business with 
Pao Shu 】'a, he took more than his share of the gain, but that he did it, because 
he was very poor, and not out of greed. 

3 Kium Chung took more than his share not on purpose, out of greed, but 

4 The empire falls to the share of the Sage, he takes it as a matter of 
course, but does not long for it. 

5 His actions are like those of intimate friends: ― natural, unpremeditated, and 

(; This incident is told more fully on p. 178. 

' The imperial house of Oh' in, which was dethroned by Han Kao Tm. 
s Hsianff 】'i^ committed suicide, when defeated by Han Kao Tsu, 


Lull - Hrng : Ii. Metapliysi(';il. 

same sense. If Kao Tsa took the reins of government without - a 
special order, it cannot be true that Wen Wang and Wii, Wang alone 
were invested through a bird and a fisli. 

The objection may be raised that in the " Announcement to 
K ang Shu " it is stated that: ― " God heard of it, and was pleased, 
and [leaven gave Wen M^ang a great charge.'" If such a decree 
were impossible, how could the Annals and Classics speak of ; i 
great command given by Heaven to Wen Wang ? ― The expression 
great command does not signify that Heaven issued orders to Wen 
Wang. Whatever a Sage does, he fulfills the commands of Heaven. 
He agrees with Heaveu, as if lie had done what Heaven bade liim. 
In the Shu-king K ang Shu is just admonished and exhorted to do 
good, therefore it is mentioned that Heaven above heard of Wen 
Wang's good deeds, and thereupon gave him a great charge. 

The Shi-king says: ― " (God) sent liis kind regards round to 
the west, and then gave an abode."- This is the same idea. 
Heaven has no head and uo face, how could it look about. Man 
can look around. Human qualities liave been ascribed to Heaven. 
It is easy to see tliat. Thus one speaks of looking about. Heaven's 
command given to Wm Wang and his looking are very much the 
same. In reality Heaven gives no orders, which can be proved in 
this way: ― 

" The perfect man resembles Heaven and Earth in virtue, 
sun and moon in brightness., the four seasons in regularity, and 
ghosts and spirits with regard to lucky and unlucky omens. When 
he acts first, Heaven does not disagree with him, and, when he 
follows Heaven, he conforms to his periods. "3 

If" in order to act there would always be a decree of Heaven 
required, how could there be actions preceding that of Heaven, 
and others following it. .Since the Sage acts, without waiting for 
Heaven's tie (; ree, just on the impulse of his heart, sometimes he 
takes the initiative, sometimes he follows Heaven, which means 
that lie is always in harmony with Heaven's periods. Hence it is said 
that Heaven does not disagTee, and that the Sage conforms to Heaven. 

The Analects'^ say: ― " Great is Yao as a sovereign ! Heaven is 
great, and Yao correspomlcd to hiin." Emperors correspond to 

1 Shu-king Pt. V, Book IX, 4. 

2 Shi-kiny Pt. Ill, Book I, Ode VII, 1. 

3 Quotation from the Yi-king, CJiien llexiigrniii (N. 1). The coiiinientntor 
says that the Sage iiiid Heaven are always in accord ni ice, mo matter who acts first, 
be (! ause they botli follow tlie same principles. 

4 AnaleclH Viil, 12. 

Ileaven'.s Original Gift. 


Heaven, that is to say, they are not in opposition to, and obey 
Heaven. Bringing tlie spontaneous nature into harmony with Heaven, 
that is the meaning, of the great command given to Wen Wang. Wen 
Wang had his own ideas, and acted by himself. Ho was not driven 
on by Heaven, nor was the scarlet bird coininissioncd to tell him 
that he should be emperor, whereupon he dared to assume the 
imperial sway. Wen Wring's scarlet bird and Wu Wang's white fisli 
were not messengers bringing tlie assurance of Heaven's glorious help. 

Whatever a lucky man begins, turns to his advantage. Ho 
finds adherents without seeking them, and auspicious objects without 
taking any trouble to get them. A latent sympathy pervades all 
things. If be be induced to come forth, and to hear and look, 
and he then sees something very propitious, it is mere spontaneity. 
When Wen Wang was going to stand up as emperor, the scarlet 
bird happened to appear. Tlie fish jumped up, and the bird came 
flying, and Wu Wang chanced to perceive tliem.^ It was not Heaven 
which sent the birds and the white fish. The lucky objects were 
moving about, and the Sages met them. Of the white fish whicli 
jumped into tlie Emperor's boat, Wang Yang ^ said that it was a 
chance. At the time, when Liu K tm,^ president of the Banqueting 
Office, was still governor of Hung-nung,^ a tiger crossed tlie Yellow 
River. The emperor Kuang Wit Ti said that it was nothing but a 
curious coincidence, and a spontaneous act, and that nobody had 
sent the tiger. What Wang Yang called a chance and Kuang Wu 
Ti a coincidence, were all, so to speak, instances of spontaneity. 

1 Shi-chi chap. 4 p. 8. 

2 A famous teacher and in later yeai's a minister, of the 1st cent. a.d. 

3 A native of Hunan, died 57 b.c. Giles, Biogr. Diet. N. 1323. 

4 A city in Honan. 


Liiii - Hriio;: B. Metaphysical. 

What is meant by Destiny? [Ming-yi.) 

The Mehistsi hold that man's death is not predestinated, whereas 
the Confucianists are of opinion that it is. The believers in Destiny 
rely on the authority of Tse Hsia ^ who says, " Life and death 
depend on Destiny, wealth and honour come from Heaven," ^ Those 
who deny the existence of Destiny refer to the city of Li-yang^^ 
which sunk into a lake in one night, and to Po-Ch'i, a general of 
Ch in, wlio buried alive the troops of Chao after their submission 
below Cli ang-ping,^ altogether 400 000 men, who all died at the 
same time. When in the Cli un-cliiu period ? armies were defeated, 
sometimes, they say, the grass was hidden by thousands of dead 
bodies. In time of famine, all the roads are full of starving people. 
During epidemics caused by malarial exhalations, tliousands of fam- 
ilies are extinguished. If there really should be Destiny, how is 
it, they ask, that in CJiin all were involved in the same catastrophe? 

The believers in Destiny will reply, " When the vastness of 
the earth, and the great number of its inhabitants is taken into 
account, it is not to be wondered at that the people at Li-yang 
and Ch'ang-p'ing should equally be doomed to die. Those whose 
destiny it was to be drowned, assembled at Li-yang, and those 
who were to be crushed to death, came together at Cli ang-p ing 
for that purpose." ― 

When Han Kao Tm& began his career, a fortune-teller, who 
entered the territory of Feng and P ei, found many persons who 
were made counts afterwards. But not all the old and young people, 
men and women bore the mark of nobility. As a rule exceptional 

1 The followers of Mc TL 

2 A disciple of Confucius, 

3 Analects XII, 5. 

4 A city in An/mi. 
-, A city in ShfrmK 

f) This inas'sacrc took place in 2(50 n.c. (Cf. Mayers Reader s Manual N. 544.) 

7 722-481 B.C. 

8 The fonndd' of the former I Ian dynasty, n native of V ei in Kianf/m. Fm*/ 
was another region in the liciglibourliood. 

What is iiicant by Destiny"-* 


persons are met with occasionally only. Yet at Li-yang men and 
women were all drowned, and at Ch ang p ing the aged and the 
young were buried to tlie last. Among tens of thousands there 
were certainly many wlio liad still a long life before tliem, and 
ought not to liave died. But such as happen to live in a time of 
decay, wlien war breaks out everywhere, cannot terminate their 
long lives. The span allotted to men is long or short, and their 
age flourishing or effete. Sickness, disasters, and misfortunes are 
signs of decay. The States of Sung, Wei, Ch'en, and Ch. eng were 
all visited with fire on the same day. ^ Among the people of the 
four kingdoins were certainly not a few whose prosperity was still 
at its height, and who ought not to liave been destroyed. Never- 
theless they all had to suffer from the conflagration, being involved 
in their country's doom, for the destiny of a State is stronger than 
that of individuals. 

The destiny regulating man's life-time is more powerful than 
the one. presiding over his prosperity. Man shows by his appear- 
ance, whether he will die old or young, and there are signs in- 
dicating, whether he will be rich or poor, liigli-placed or base. All 
this is to be seen from his body. Length and shortness of life 
are gifts of Heaven. Whether the structure of the bones be good 
or bad, is visible in the body. If a man's life must be cut off in 
its prime, he cannot live long, altlioiigli lie be endowed with extra- 
ordinary qualities, and if it be decreed that he shall be poor and 
miserable, the very best character is of no avail to him. 一 When 
Hsiang Yii'^ was going to die, he turned to his followers, and said, 
" I am vanquished, but by fate, not by force of arms." This is 
true, for in warfare Hsiang Yii was superior to Km Tsu. The latter' s 
rise was due to Heaven's decree ouly. 

The destiny of the State is connected with the stars. Just 
as tlieir constellations are propitious or unpropitious, the State is 
happy or unhappy. As the stars revolve and wander, men rise 
and fall. Human prosperity and distress are like the abundance 
and tlie scarcity of a year. Destiny is flourishing or declining; 
things are either expensive or cheap. Within the space of one 
year, they are sometimes expensive, and at others cheap, as during- 

1 This great fire, which on the same day broke out in the capitals of the 
four States, is recorded in the CJi un-ch'iu Book X, 18 (Duke CJiao) as happening in 
529 B.C. It is believed to have been foreshadowed by a comet, which appeared in 
winter of the preceding year. ― These four States were comprised in Honan, ex- 
cept Sung which occupied the northern part of modern Kiangsa. 

- The I'ival of Han Kao Tsu, before the latter ascended the throne. 


Lnii - Hong: B. Metapliysicnl. 

a long life prosperity and distress alternate. The prices of things 
do not depend on tlie abundance or scarcity of the year, nor is 
human prosperity the outcome of ability or ignorance. 

How is it tliat Tse Tlsla says, " Life and death depend on 
Destiny, wealth and honour come from Heaven ,, instead of saying, 
" Life and death come from Heaven, ^ wealth and honour depend 
on Destiny ? " - For life and death there are no heavenly signs, they 
depend on the constitution. When a man has got a strong con- 
stitution, liis vital force is exuberant, and his body strong. In 
case of bodily strength life's destiny is long; the long-lived do not 
die young. Conversely, he wlio lias got a weak constitution pos- 
sesses but a feeble vital force, and a delicate bodily frame. Deli- 
cacy is the cause of the shortness ol" life's destiny; the short-lived 
die early. Consequently, if we say that there is a destiny, destiny 
means constitution. 

As regards the transmission of wealth and honour, it is like 
tlie vital force, viz. an effluence emanating from the stars. Their 
hosts are on heaven, which has their sigus. Being born under a 
star pointing at wealth and honour, man obtains wealth and honour, 
whereas under a lieavenly sign implying poverty and misery, he 
will become poor and miserable. Thus wealth and honour come 
from Heaven, but how is this brought about? Heaven has its 
hundreds of officials'^ and multitudes of stars. Just as Heaven emits 
its fluid, the stars send forth their eflluence, which keeps amidst 
the heavenly lluid. Imbibing this fluid, men are bom, and live, as 
long as they keep it. If they obtain a. fine one, they become men 
of rank, if a common one, common people. Their position may 
be higher or lower, and their wealth bigger or smaller, according 
as the stars distributing all this, rank liigher or lower, are larger 
or smaller. ― Heaven has many hundred officials and multitudes 
of stars, and so we have on earth tlie essence of tens of thousands 
of people, of the Five Emperors and the Three Rulers.^ Heaven 
lias his Wang Liang and Tsao Fn, * men have them also. He who 
is endued with their essence, becomes skilled in charioteering'. 

It is said that three different kinds of destiny can be dis- 
tinguished, the natural, the concomitant, and tlie adverse one. One 

■ Wring ( livng puts a construction upon the words of Tse Ilsin, of which he 
probably never thought. Tse H-tia used Destiny and Heaven as synonyms, as we do. 

2 Namely the stars. 

3 The first legendary rulers of Chinese history. 

Two f'aiiioti.s chai'ioteers of" old, the latter the driver of the eight celebrated 
steeds of King Mu of CItou. 

What is ineaiit liv Destiny ? 


speaks of natural destiny, if somebody's luck is the simple conse- 
quence of liis original organisation. His constitution being well 
ordered, and 】iis bones good, he needs not toil in order to obtain 
happiness, since his luck comes of itself. This is meant by natural 
destiny. Concomitant destiny comes into play, wlien a man becomes 
happy only by dint of hard work, but is pursued by misfortune, 
as soon as he yields to bis propensities, and gives rein to his desires. 
This is to be understood by concomitant destiny. As for adverse 
destiny, a man may, contrary to his expectations, reap bad fruits from 
all his good deeds ; lie will rush into misfortune and misery, wliicli will 
strike him from afar. Therefore, one can speak of adverse destiny. 

Every mortal receives his own destiny : already at the time 
of liis conception, lie obtains a lucky or an unlucky chance. Man's 
nature does not correspond to 】iis destiny: his disposition may be 
good, but his destiny unlucky, or his disposition bad, and liis fate 
lucky. Good and bad actions are the result of natural disposition, 
liappiuess and misfortune, good and bad luck are destiny. Good 
deeds may lead to mishap, then the disposition is good, but destiny 
cruel, and likewise misdeeds may result in happiness, in that case 
man's nature is Avicked, but fate smiling'. Nature is good or bad of 
its own accord, and so is fate lucky or unlucky. A favourite of 
fate, though not doing well, is not, of necessity, deprived of happi- 
ness for tliat reason, whereas an ill-fated man does not get rid of 
liis misfortune, tliougli trying liis best. 

Mencius said : —- "To strive for a thing, one must have wisdom, 
but wliether lie attains it, depends upon destiny." i Witli a good 
disposition one can struggle for it and, if fate be favourable, 
obtain it; should, however, fate be averse, one may with a good 
nature strive for it, but never get it. 

Bad deeds are followed by misfortune. Yet tlie robbers Che 
and Chuang C/i iao^ were scourges to the whole empire. With some 
thousands of other bandits, whom they had collected, they assaulted 
and robbed people of their property, and cut them to pieces. As 
outlaws tliev were unequalled. They ought to have been disgraced : 
tar from it, tliey finished their lives as old men. In the face of 
til is, liow can the idea of a concomitant destiny be upheld? 

Men with an adverse destiny do well in tlieir hearts, but 
meet witli disasters abroad. How is it that men like Yen Yuan and 

1 Mencius, Book VII, Pt. I, chap. 3. 

2 Two famous robbers of antiquity . especially the former, to whom a chapter 
is devoted in Chuang Tse, 

3 The same as Yen Ilui, the favourite disciple of Confucius, 


Lun -Heiig: R. Metaphysical. 

Po Niu came to disgrace? They were both virtuous, and should 
have been rewarded by a concomitant destiny with bliss and happi- 
ness. Wherefore did they meet with misfortune? Yen Ytian^ confined 
to liis study, killed himself by liis great talents/ Po Niu, while living 
quite alone, caught a horrible disease. C/i ii P ing and Wu Yuau 
were the most loyal ministers of their sovereigns, and scrupulously 
fulfilled their duties as servants to the king.^ In spite of this, the 
corpse of Cli ii P ing was left unburied in CKu, and in Wii Yuan, s 
body was cooked. For their good works they should have obtained 
the happiness of concoiiiitant destiny, but they fell in with the 
misfortune of adverse fate. How is such a thing possible? 

Concomitant destiny excludes adverse destiny, and adverse 
destiny, a concomitant one. On what basis can the scholastic dis- 
tinction of three kinds of destiny then be established? Moreover, 
fate is already visible from the structure of bones at the time of 
birth, now, if it be said to follow the actions, it comes afterwards, 
and is not yet there from the beginning. Wealth aud honour, 
poverty and misery are determined at the first moment of recepti- 
bility of the human being, tliey do not arrive only in company with 
his actions, after the individual has grown up. 

A man with a natural fate will die at the age of a hundred 
years, another with a concomitant fate at the age of fifty, but lie 
whose fate is adverse, meets witli distress from the moment he 
receives vitality; as people say, he is confronted with ill-luck al- 
ready as an embryo. He may have been born during a thunderstorm 
and, when he is grown up, die young. 

These are what they call the three destinies, there are also 
distinguished three kinds of natures: natural, concomitant^ aud adverse. 
Naturally man is endowed with tlie five virtues, concomitant nature 
corresponds to that of father and motlier, and adverse nature is 
caused by irieeting some unpropitious object. Thus a pregnant 

' He worked too hard, and died at the age of thirty-two. His hair had 
turned quite white already. (Cf. Legge, Analects, Prolegomena p. 1 13.) 

- Cliii Yuan or CKu PHng, a faithful counsellor of Prince Hwai of ( lin in 
the 4th century b.c, committed suicide by drowning himself, because his admonitions 
were disregarded. The dnigon-boat festival is celebrated in coinnienioration thereof. 
Wu Yuan or Wn J tin, a minister of the last king of Viu circa 520 h.c. was sentenced 
to perish by his own hand. His body was afterwards sewn into a leather wine-sack, and 
(^ast into tlio river nenr Sooeliow, wliere lie lias been deified as the spirit of the water 
like Chu P ing. This is the coninion tradition. (Cf. Mayer,^ Manual N. 879 and Gile's, 
Biogr, Diet, N. 235S. According to W(mg ( 'Jiung the body of Wu Yuan was cooked.) 

:i The ienn nature is used in the sense ol' tipirituiil nature, disposition, ns 
well as for constitution, L e, physical qualities. 

What IS meant by Destiny? 


Avoman eating a hare will bear a liarelip])ed son. In the Yiie/t-ilng ^ 
it is stated that, in the same month tlie thunder is about to utter 
its voice, and that those who are not careful of their behaviour, 
、、- ill bring fortli crippled childreu, and have great calamities. 

They become dumb or deaf, lame or blind. The embryo 
having been affected by external influences, the child's character 
will be violent and rebellious. Yang She Shih Wo's - voice, after his 
birth, sounded like that of a Avolf. When lie gre、v older, lie showed 
a wicked disposition; he met Avitli misfortune, and died. He got 
this character already, when still in his mother's womb. Tlie like 
holds good for Tan ilin'^ and Sliang Chihi, Character and destiny 
are there from tlie beginning. Therefore the Li points out a method 
to instruct embryos. s As long as tlie child is in the uterus, the 
mother must not sit down, if the mat be not properly placed, nor 
eat anything not cut in the proper manner. Her eyes must see 
but the proper colours, and lier ears liear but the proper sounds. 
When tlie child grows up, it must be given intelligent teachers 
and good instructors, 、vlio will make it familiar with tlie relations 
of sovereign and subject, father and son, for at that period its 
virtue or depravity will become manifest. If at tlie moment, Avlien 
tlie child receives tlie vitalising fluid, the mother does not take 
care to keep lier heart free from wild fancies and fears of Avicked- 
ness, lier child, when grown up, will not be good, but fierce and 
refractory, aud look ugly and wicked. A heavenly maiden ex- 
plained to Huang Ti^ that to have five wives not only entails bodily 
injury on father and mother, but also most seriously affects the 
characters of sons and daugliters. 

Men have their destiny and luck, contingencies and chance. 
By destiny they are wealthy and poor, exalted and base: their 
luck is thriving or declining, flourishing or fading. Those whose 
destiny it is to be rich and honoured, meet with a thriving' luck; 
tliey enjoy perpetual tranquillity, aud are never in jeopardy. On 

1 The YUeh-linff is the Book III, N. 6 of the Li-Ki, the Book of Rites. The 
" same month '' referred to in the passage, quoted from the ~i ileh-Ung, is the second 
month of spring. Wang (,'Nung seems to have had in view the final paragraph as 
well, which says that, if in the last month of winter the spring ceremonies were ob- 
served, the embryos would suffer many disasters. (Cf. Legge, Li Ki, Book IV, 
p. 260 and 310 [Sacred Books of the East, Vol. XXVII].) 

2 A native of Chin, 6th cent. b.c. 

3 The unworthy son of the emperor Yao 2357 b.c. 

4 The degenerated son of the emperor Shun 2255 b.c. 

5 Cf. Ta-tai-li chap. 3, p. 6v (Han Wei tsung shu). 
G The first emperor, a mythical personage. 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

the other haml do snch as are doomed to poverty and misery, fall 
in with a declining luck : they are the victims of ill- fortune; al- 
ways in trouble, tliey know no pleasure. 

A contingency is some extraordinary change, such, for instance, 
as were experienced by CK eng T'ang,^ Avlien lie 、vas kept a prisoner 
i-n Hsia-tai and by Wen Wang,^ Avlien detained at Yu-U, For sages, 
with all their perfections, to be tlirown into jail, this certainly can 
be called an extraordinaiy contingency. But liowever great the 
change may be, in the case of a favourable destiny and a thriving 
luck it does no liarm. Tins it what they call a contingent mishap. 
That Avliicli befell Yen Tse ^ must be regarded as a great one. Let 
us suppose that a weapon be pointed at a man's breast, that the 
briglit blade be already touching his neck, that lie rush forward 
to certain death, or that lie oppose liimself to the points of swords 
and halberds, let such a man be saved just at the moment, wlieii 
lie expects to die, then liis destiny is so good, and his luck 
so flourishing, that the misfortune lie encounters cannot injure 
liiui. At Li-yang and Ch ang p'irtg^ wlierc the catastrophe took place/ 
Avere certainly people witli a propitious fate and a thriving luck, 
who were all crushed to death in the same nig'lit. Tlie disaster 
tliey mt't with was so paramount, that their good fate and thriving 
luck could not ward it off. This may be compared to the antago- 
nism between water and fire. If the water is stronger, it quells 
the fire, and if the fire is stronger, it overcomes the water. To 
find employment, a man must get hold of an employer. In spite of 
a propitious fate and thriving luck nobody will be able to sliow 
what he is capable of, unless he comes into contact witli a master 
who takes an interest in liim. 

The word chance conveys the idea of good and evil derived 
from accidents, A culprit, who succeeds in making his escape, lias 

1 The founder of the Sham/ dynasty, who was imprisoned by the last emperors 
of the Ifsia, 

2 The ancestor of the house of (、hou. He was incarcerated at Yu-li by the 
last emperor of the Shang dynasty. . 

3 Under Yen Tse Yen I'm// ^t^^, a celebrated statesman ol' the 
Dukes of C7u, is usually understood. Since Yen Ymg was very successful in his 
career, no misfortune whatever being recorded of liiiii, I would suggest to alter 

into -jp, abbreviated for 资負 |B] )'cn I hd, the name of the ill-lated 
disci])le of Con/ucius, whose iiii.sfbrtuiie, hLs untimely deatli, is incntioncd above p. 2<)(> 
and elsewhere. 

4 See above p. 】 3(5. 

" 111 addition to good luck, according to our author, he who seeks employment 
ic<|uires a eontiiigeiicy, lie iiiu^t find some one who appreciates him. 

What is meant hy Destiny? 


good fortune, whereas it is bad fortune, if an innocent man be 
arrested. He who after a short incarceration obtains his release, 
lias a propitious destiny and thriving luck so, that tlie misfortune 
of an untimely end cannot affect him. 

NoA\' for the meaning of incident, which will be illustrated by 
the service offered to a sovereign. Provided tliat somebody serve 
the sovereign in the proper Avay, that tlie latter appreciate his 
words, and afterwards employ him, this is a lucky incident. Conver- 
sely, if the prince disprove of the man's ways so, that lie dismisses 
him, and sends liim away, this is an unlucky incident. Should a 
man after a sliort period of disgrace still get an appointment through 
the recommaudation of a liiglier official, he owes it to his good 
destiny and thriving- luck, Avliicli do not allow that the liarm caused 
by an unlucky incident keeps on for long. 

Contingencies and cliaDce eitlier tally witli destiny and luck 
or disagree with them. To Lit on good cliances, and thus reach 
the goal, or to meet witli bad ones, and be ruined, is tallying Avitli 
destiny and luck. To fall off in mid-career, without completing A\ liat 
is to come, good being suddenly turned into evil, this is contrary 
to fate and luck. In this world men's dispositions and destinies 
are auspicious or unfavourable, their happiness and misfortune 
flourish or decline. All depends on contingencies. According' to 
the cliances tliey have, they either live or die. But those wlio 
accomplish all their good or bad deeds, and obtain all their heart's 
desires, are fe^v. 


Lnn -Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

On Destiny and Fortune {M'mg-lu). 

Man's success as well as his troubles depend upon destiny. 
It determines his life and his death, and the length of his span, 
and it likewise provides for his rank and his wealth. From the 
princes and dukes downwards to the commoners, and from the 
sages and worthies down to the illiterate people, all those who 
have a head and eyes, and blood in their veins, eacli and every 
one possess their own destiny. If any one is to become poor and 
miserable, lie will be involved in misfortunes and disasters, even 
though lie passes through wealth and honour, whereas he for 
whom wealth and honour are in store, meets with happiness and 
bliss even in the midst of penm'y and misery. Therefore, whoever 
is predestinated for great tliiugs, rises by himself from his humble 
position, while another whose fate is misery, falls down from his 
high sphere. 

Thus it seems, as if the gods lent their help to the wealthy 
and the great folks, and as if the mishap of the poor and low 
class people were the work of tlie demons. Wlien future grandees 
study with others, tliey alone reach the goal/ aud after having 
taken office, the)' alone are promoted from among their colleagues. 
What the future rich men strive for witli other competitors, tliey 
alone obtain, and what they do conjointly, tliey alone complete. 
Witli poor and low people it is just the reverse. Tliey fail in 
their studies, fail to be promoted, and fail to complete what they 
】iave begun. They make themselves guilty, suffer punishment, fall 
sick, die, and perish. The loss of wealth and honour means pov- 
erty and meanness. 

Consequently, there is no guarantee whatever that men of 
high endowments and excellent conduct will in any case attain to 
wealth and honour, and we must not imagine that others whose 
knowledge is very limited, and whose virtue is but small, are there- 
fore doomed to poverty and misery. Sometimes, men of great 

1 Passing the examinations, which is mere luck. 

On Destiny and Fortune. 


talents and excellent conduct have a bad fate, which cripples them, 
and keeps them down, and people with scanty knowledge and 
small virtue may have such a propitious fate, that they soar up 
and take a brilliant flight. 

Wisdom and dullness, pure and mean conduct under given 
circumstances are dm'acter and natural gifts: high and low rank 
in the official career, and wealth and poverty in business depend 
on destiny and time. Destiny is not amenable to coercion, or time 
to compulsion. The kuoAving, therefore, leave every thing to Heaven, 
placid, serene, and equaiiiinous even in case their poverty or mis- 
ery should be cliaugecl into wealth and lionour. 

When in digging a creek or cutting firewood a special energy 
be shown, or great strength be displayed, then by cliut of digging 
tlie creek will be deepened, and by dint of hewing much wood 
will be cut down. Even people without a fate would thus obtain 
their ends, how tlien would poverty and meanness, disasters and 
dangers come in? Perhaps heavy showers might interfere with the 
completion of the creek, or the wood-cutter might lall in with a 
tiger, before lie had gathered much wood. The low rank of an 
official and the unprofitableuess of a business are like the show ers 
interrupting tlie digging of a creek, and like the tiger met by the 

Perhaps able men find no occasion to use their talents, and 
the wise cannot practise tlieir wisdom, or tliey use their talents, 
but Lave no success, and practise their principles, but do not ac- 
complish what they had in view. Though being as gifted and as 
wise as Confucms, it may happen that they never come to the front. 
The world seeing their high moral standard will ask, " How is it 
that these sort of worthies and wise men do not become exalted?," 
and admiring their deep thoughts, they will say, " Why do men 
of such a wonderful intellect not become rich?" 

Rank and wealth depend upon fate, happiness and fortune 
are not connected with wisdom and intelligence. Therefore it is 
said that wealth cannot be acquired by calculations, nor rank be 
secured by talents. Profound philosophy does not procure riches, 
and the highest accomplishments do not win an official post. Those 
who carry silver in their bosoms and wear pendants of red jewels, 
are not necessarily a Clii ^ or a Hsieh - in talent, and those who 
amass gold or heap up precious stoues, must not be a C/iu of 

1 The god of cereals (cf. p. 130). 

2 The wise minister of Shun (cf. chap. XXXIX). 

I-uu - Heng. 10 


Lun-Hcng: B. Metaphysical. 

T ao 1 in wisdom. Not seldom simpletons are in possession of a thousand 
chin, and blockheads are made governors of a city. Officers may 
show the same ability iu their administration, their different rank 
is the result of their fate, and iu doing business people may display 
the same knowledge, their dillerent wealth is tlie outcome of their 
fortune. It is fortune which determines wealth and poverty, through 
knowledge one does neither thrive nor perish, and it is destiny 
that fixes one's high or low position, through talents one does not 
advance or fail in one's career. 

King Cltengs^'^ ability did not equal tliat of the Duke of Chou. 
and Duke Hiians^ intelligence fell sliort of that of Kuan Chung. 
Nevertheless Cli eng and Hikui were endowed with tlie most glorious 
fate, whereas the Duke of Choii and Kuan Chung received iufei*ior 
appointments. In ancient times, princes very seldom did not learn 
from their ministers. Possessing an extensive knowledge the latter 
would, as a rule, act as their fathers and instructors. In spite of 
this uusufficiency, the princes would take the place of sovereigns, 
and their ministers Avitli all their accomplishments liacl to serve as 
their menials. That shows that rank depends upon destiny, and 
not on intelligence, and that wealth is good fortune, and lias 
nothing to do with mental faculties. 

Most people discussing these questions fancy that men of 
genius ought to be made generals and ministers, and that less 
gifted persons should become peasants and traders. Observing that 
scholars of great abilities are not called to office, tliey are surprised, 
<tnd reproach them witli incompetency for practical business, and 
likewise they wonder at other scholars, who have a turn of mind 
for the practical (but do not get on), and imagine that they must 
be too weak in theory. As a matter of fact, they are not aware 
that, though a person may be most admirable either in theory or 
in practice, it is merely destiny that governs Itis olTicial status and 
liis emoluments. When clever men undertake something at a lucky 
and propitious time, and liappiaess survenes, tlieu people will call 
them clever, whereas, when they witness a decline, and the arrival 
of mislbrtune, they regard them as stupid. Tliey do not know a 
lucky and inauspicious fate, or a tli riving and declining fortune. 

' This was tlie name assumed l).y the f;um 川 m minister of the Yueh State Fan 
Li、 when, having retired from public life, he lived incognito in ( ,'h'L Under this name 
he amassed a large fortune so, that T' ao Chu Kung has become a synonym ibr a 
" millionaire." (Cf. Giles, BibL Diet. N. 540.) 

2 King Ch'mrj of the dtou dynasty fcf. cliap. XL). 

3 lluariy duke of Clii (cf. p. 17<>). 

Oil Destiny and Fortune. 


Po Kttei ^ and Tse Kxing^ made a fortune by tho transport of 
wares, and had heaps of gold and jewels. People spoke of their 
excellent methods and their great learning. CIm Fu Yen ^ was de- 
spised and slighted in Ch i, which would have none of him. He 
went to the imperial palace, and presented a memorial, whereupon 
he was employed by the Han, and rose in office as high as a 
minister of State, Hsil Yileh of Cliao also sent ui> a memorial, when 
he was together witli Yen Chang. His Majesty was pleased with 
his words, and appointed liiiu secretary of a board. People praise 
the talents of Cku Fa Yen and the skill of Hsii Yue/i, but they are 

When literati are able to comment upon one classic, in which 
they have become well versed in the capital, as lucidly as Kuany 
Chill Kuei and as tho roughly as Chao Tse Tu, who passed the first 
and the second examinations at the first trial, and immediately 
were promoted to the rank of a secretary of a ministry and of an 
academician, people believe that they have obtained this by their 
profound knowledge of the classics and their genius, which is 

In the case of able speakers ^ such as Fan 'SW,^ avIio in CK in 
was ennobled as a Marquis of Ying, and of T mi Tse ^ who after 
he had spoken to Fan Sui, was appointed alien minister," they 
pretend that these happy results were brought about by the ex- 
cellence of Fan Sui and T sai Tse, but that is erroneous. All the 
above-mentioned persons were predestinated for opulence and no- 
bility, and it was just the proper time for these lucky events to happen. 

Coufucius said, Life and death depend on Destiny, wealth 
aiul honour _cQine from Heaven."^ Duke P^ing of Lu wished to 
see Mencius\ but his minion Tsang T sang slandered Mmcius, and 
dissuaded him. Mencius said, " It is Heaven. "9 Confucms^ a sage, 

1 A keen business man, who flourished under the Marquis Wen of Wd in 
the 5th cent. b.c. 

- A disciple of Confucius, who became very rich. 

3 Chu Fu Yen lived in the 2iid cent. b.c. He was an enemy of Tung Chung 
Shu (cf. p. 84). 

4 Who could explain a book, and solve knotty questions in the presence of 
the sovereign. 

5 Cf. p. 115. 

G Cf. chap. XXIV. 

7 Because T' mi Tse was not a native of Ch 'in, but of JWi. King diao of 
ChHn (305—250 b.c.) made him his minister on the recommendation of Fan Sui. 

8 Cf. p. 136. 

9 See chap. XXXIV. 



Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

and Mencius, a worthy, exhorting people to conform to the right 
principles, did not confound truth and untruth. Since they spoke 
of destiny, it is evident that there is a destiny. Huai Nan Tse 
says in bis work, " Benevolence and meanness depend upon time, 
not on conduct, and profit and loss are brought about by fate, 
not by knowledge." And Chia Yi ^ states, " Witli Heaven one 
cannot fix a time, and with Too one cannot lay plans. Early and 
late are predetermined by destiny. How could the time be known? " 

When Kao Tsii fought against Cit ing Pu, 乜 he was hit by a 
stray arrow. His illness being very serious, the Empress Lii Hou 
consulted an able physician. This doctor said that the disease 
could be cured, but Kao Tsu abused liiin saying, " I. a simple 
citizen, have with my sword of three feet conquered the world. 
Was that not Heaven's decree? Destiny depends ou Heaven. Even 
a Pien Cli ioh^ would be no use." 4 When Han Hsin ^ spoke with 
the emperor on military tilings, lie said to Kao Tm, "The heavenly 
appointment, of which Your Majesty speaks, cannot be won by 
skill or force." 

Yang Tse Ynit ^ teaches that to meet with what one desires, or 
not to meet with it, is fate, and the Grand Annalist asserts that 
wealth and honour do not exclude poverty and meanness, and that 
the latter do not exclude wealth and honour. That means that 
opulence and nobility may turn into indigence and humbleness, and 
that indigence and humbleness may be changed into opulence aud ' 
nobility. Rich and noble persons do not desire poverty and misery, 
but poverty aud misery may come of themselves, and poor and 
humble fellows may not strive for wealth and honour, yet wealtli 
and lioiiour fall to their sort spontaneously. 

When in spring or summer people die in ju'ison, and wlien 
in autumn and winter tlicy wear an air of prosperity," tliis is 
not the result of tlieir works. The sun rises in the morning, and 
sets in the evening, not because people wish it, for the principle 
of Heaven is sj)ontaneity. The King of Ijii^ arrived from Tai^ and 

1 A scholar of the 2iid cent., who wrote the Hsin-shu and some poetry. 

2 The king of JIuni-nan, who h:i(l revolted. 

3 A celebrated physician. 

* The passage is <jnoted i'roin the S/ti-c/d, rliap. S (('havannes, Mtm, Hist, 
Vol. II, p. 400). 

One of the Three Heroes vvlut helped I "in Kao Tm to win the throne. 
« Cf. p. 124. 

7 According to ( cnstoins executions of criminals take place in autumn. 
" The fifth son oC tlio emperor Kf(0 Tm, The empress JAi hou wished to 
leave the empire to one of the Lu princes, her own kinsmen. 

On Destiny and Fortune. 


became the Emperor Wen Ti. i (; Itou Ya FU;! an illegitimate son, 
was made Marquis of Tiao, At first, the King of Tai was not heir- 
apparent, and CliOH Ya Fa was not the legitimate son, but tliey 
encountered the proper time, and (ell in witli the right moment, 
which led to tlieir elevation. 

In case a person predestinated for poverty, acquires wealth 
by liis exertions and his energy, he dies, when he has made a 
fortune, and should another doomed to humility win honours by 
his talents and abilities, he will be dismissed, when he lias made 
himself a position. They win wealth and honour by their energy 
and their genius, but are unable to keep in possession of fate and 
luck, just as a vessel holds but a certain quantity, and as a liand 
lilts but a certain weight. If a vessel holds just one pint, then 
one pint exactly fills it, but, as soon as there is more than one 
pint, it flows over. Provided that a hand can just lift one chiin,^ 
then it balances one chth), but, when one cinm is exceeded, he who 
lifts it up, tumbles and falls. 

Former generations Imew (he truth, therefore they ascribed 
every tiling to destiny, and such is destiny indeed. Those who 
trust in destiny, can live in retirement and await tlieir time. They 
need not exhaust their vitality, or Ijarass their bodies, hunting 
after it ― for it is like pearls and jewels, concealed in lakes and 
mountains. Heaven's fate is difficult to know. People are unable 
to find it out. Although their fate be propitious, they have no 
confidence in it, and therefore seek it. If they understood it, they 
would be aware that, though fleeing" wealth and shunning honour, 
at length they cannot get rid of it. 

Tims tliey presume that force overcomes poverty, and that 
diligence vanquishes misfortune. They exert themselves, and do 
their utmost to acquire wealth, and they cultivate their faculties, 
and purify their conduct to win honour. But neglecting the proper 
time, and acting in a wrong way, they will uever obtain the wealth 
and honour tliey crave for. Even though they admit the existence 
of fate, they imagine that it must be sought. 

He who is convinced that fate cannot be sought, maintains 
that it must come of its own accord. One obtains it of itself 
without any alien assistance, it is completed without any Avork, 
and it arrives spontaneously without any cooperation on the part 
of the recipient. The nerves and sinews of those who are to be 

1 179—157 B.C. 

2 Chief minister of Han Wen Ti (cf. chap. XXIV). 

3 30 catties. . 

1 50 Lun -Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

rich, become strong of themselves, and those who are to have rank 
and titles, get a fine intellect spontaneously, just as in a thousand Li 
liorse ^ tlie lieacl, tlie eyes, the feet, and the hoofs all suit together. 

That fate, if sought, cannot be obtained, does not mean that 
it can be won, if not affected. Men of great knowledge need not 
seek honour, for it comes of its own accord, and the active and 
energetic need not seek wealth, for it falls to them spontaneously. 
The happiness of wealth and honour cannot be attracted by any 
efforts, nor can tlie unliappines of poverty and humbleness be 
simply avoided. Consequently, the fate of woaltli and honour is 
obtained without any effort. Those who believe in fate will say 
they know that luck requires no seeking. Wlien the heavenly fate 
is particularly lucky, it is obtained spontaneously without an effort, 
whereas, when it is unpropitious, all endeavours are of no lielp 
against it. 

As creatures are born not because they have wished it, so 
men become exalted without having struggled for it. Human 
character is such, that some peopie are good of themselves without 
instruction, and that others never become good in spite of instruc- 
tion. The heavenly nature is like fate. King Yi of Yiieh escaped 
into tlie mountains, earnestly desiring not to become king, and 
wisliiug to find a substitute. But the people of Yiieli smoked his 
den so, that at last lie could not escape, and ascended the throne 
by force. By Heaven's fate it had to be so. Though fleeing and 
running away from it, he could not avoid it at last. Thus he 
spontaneously obtained the honour wliich he had not sought. 

1 A swift horse supposed to make a thousand Li in one day. 

2 He was assassinated by his younger brother in 376 b.c. 、(,havannes, M/'m. 
Hist Vol. IV, p. 433, Note 5). ' 

On riiancc ;ind Luck. 151 

On Chance and Luck {Hsing-ou) . 

Ill their doings men may be clever or stupid, hut with regard 
to the happiness or unliap[)iness, which fall to their share, they 
are either lucky or unlucky. Their works are good or evil, but, 
whether they meet with rewards or punishment, depends on their 
good or bad fortune. If several people suffer an armed attack 
at, the same time, those who find a hiding place, are not wounded, 
and if some persons are overtaken by frost on the same clay, those 
who obtain shelter, suffer no in jury. It does not follow that the 
wounded or injured are wicked, or that those who found a hiding 
place or a shelter, are meritorious. To find a refuge or shelter is 
good luck, to be wounded or injured is bad luck. There are many 
who would be pleased to give proofs of their loyalty, but out of 
these some are rewarded, some punished : many would fain benefit 
tlieir country, but only some are trusted by tlieir sovereign, the 
others he suspects. Those wliom he rewards and confides in, are 
not necessarily trustworthy, nor are those whom he punishes and 
mistrusts, of necessity traitors. Reward and trust is good fortune, 
punishment and suspicion, bad. 

From among the seventy odd pupils of Confucius, Yen Hid died 
in early youth. Confucius said, " Unluckily liis span was short, 
therefore lie died." If a short life be spoken of as unlucky, then 
longevity must be a matter of luck, and a short life, something 
unlucky. He who walks in the footsteps of sages and worthies, 
and expounds the doctrines of kindness and justice, ought to enjoy 
bliss and happiness. However, Po Niu ^ fell sick, and did not fare 
much better than Yen Hui; they were both unlucky. 

]Mole-crickets and ants creep on the ground. If man lifts his 
foot, and walks on them, the crickets and ants crushed by his feet 
(lie at once, whereas those which are untouched continue alive and 
unhurt. Wild grass is consumed by fire kindled by the friction of 
cart-wheels. People ' are fond of the grass which reinaiued unburnt, 
and commonly call it " lucky grass." Nevertheless, that an insect 
has not been trodden upon, or some grass not been reached by 

1 Another disciple of Confucius. On his sickness cf. Analects VI, 8 and p. 1(35. 


Lim-Heng: B. Metapliysical. 

the fire, is not yet a proof of their excellence. The movement of 
the feet, and the spread of the fire are merely accidental. 

The same reasoning holds good for the breaking out of ulcers. 
When the free circulation of humours is stopped, they coagulate, 
and form a boil; as it begins to run, it becomes a sore : ― the blood 
comes out, and matter is discharged. Are those pores, where the 
ulcer breaks through, better than others? No, only the working 
of the good (; onstitutioii has been checked in some places. 

When the spider has woven its web, some of the flying in- 
sects pass it unli armed, others are caught : when the hunter has 
spread his nets, some of the beasts stirred up come to bay, the 
others escape. In the fishing nets thrown into rivers and lakes 
many fish are pulled out, others get away. It happens that robbers 
and the like, guilty of the worst crimes, are never found out, 
whereas people who liave committed a small o Hence to be atoned 
for by a fine only, are immediately discovered. Thus, general 
calamities affect people differently. Sucli as are unlucky die of 
the shock, and the lives of tlie fortunate are spared. Unlucky 
means not favoured by circumstances. Confucius said: — " Man's life 
must be upright. A life without it is based on good fortune only."' 
Accordingly, those who on a smooth road meet with accidents, Lave 
bad luck. 

Should anybody standing at the foot of a high wall l)p 
crushed by its fall, or, while walking on a river bank full of 
crevices, be buried by the earth's collapsing under his feet, sucli 
a one would simply have met with an accident, that is to say 
would have been unlucky. 

The city gate of the capital of Lu was in a state of decay 
since a long time, and about to tumble down. When Confucim passed 
it, he hurried up, and quickened his pace. His attendants said to 
him : ― " It has been like this ever so long." Confucius replied saying, 
" Its having so long I'emained so is just what displeases ine." 
('oiifucius was pre (; autious in the extreme : had the gate fallen down, 
just when he passed it, one might speak of him as unlucky. 
Confucius said, " Superior men may have no luck, but there are 
none who have luck. Low people often have luck, and there are 
iiom、 (piite devoid of luck,"- and further: ― " The superior man keeps 

1 Amilpcls VI, 17. 

2 The Jiieaiiiiig is tliiit tlie .successes of superior men are due to their own 
excellence, not to mere chance, but tiiat they are often visited with misfortune. 
With coiiiiiion pcoplo it is diirerciit. Tlieir liiippiiioss is never tlieir own work, but 
luck, which often favours them. 

On Chance nnd Lm'l" 


in safe places, thus awaiting his destiny, tlie ordinary man courts 
dangers, relying on favourable circumstances." ' Impostors like Jfung 
./", and CItieh ,/",2 though possessed of no virtue or ability, were 
nevertheless admired for their beauty; unworthy of love, tluy found 
favour, and unfit to associate with, tliey were chosen as companions. 
According to right and reason this ought uot to be. Therefore, 
the Grand Annalist devotes a chapter to them. 3 Bad characters 
who in a similar way, though perverting all moral principles, are 
lionoured, and held in liigli esteem, are by a coinraon name called 

If a man devoid of virtue receives favours, it amounts to the 
same, as if another without any fault of his own meets with mis- 
Ibrtune. All creatures originally endowed with vitality become 
partly men, partly beasts, or birds. Of human beings, men tliough 
they be one and all, some are honoured, others despised, some are 
rich, others poor. The rich man may hoard up heaps of gold, 
whereas a poor fellow is compelled to beg for his food. A noble- 
raau will perhaps rise to the rank of a marquis, whilst the low 
born sinks into a state of slavery. It is not, because Heaven has 
given them different qualities. 

Man's natural disposition may be kind or mean : yet even if 
the conduct of some persons be equally honest and virtuous, hap- 
piness and misfortune are uot equally divided among them, and 
although they practise benevolence and justice in the same way, 
success and failure are not the same. Wen of Chin' sought to acquire 
knowledge and virtue, and Yen of Hsil ^ acted with benevolence and 
justice; the former was rewarded, the latter utterly ruined. A man 
of Lu^' having avenged his father, remained quietly where lie was, 
and did not flee. The pursuers let him off. Niu Ch ileh was ab- 
ducted by robbers; lie endured it fearlessly and with equanimity, 
but the robbers Idlled him. Now, knowledge and virtue are 
about the same as benevolence and justice, and not running 
away as much as fearlessness, nevertheless Duke Wen and the man 
of Lu were happy, and King Yen? and Aiu C/t iieli, unhappy, the 

1 Chung-yung (Doctrine of the Mean) chap. XV. 
. 2- Two minions of the emperors Han Kno Tm (206—194 b.c.) and Hni 77 

3 Shi-chi chap. 125. 

4 An old State in modern Ska mi, where the Marquis Wen reigned from 
779-744 B.C. 

5 The name of a State, whose lords wei'fe viscounts, in modern Anhui. 
G All old feudal State in Shantung. 

' Higher titles used to be given to those feudal princes than they were entitled to. 


Lun - Heiig : B. Metaphysical. 

one liad good luck, the others bad. The Duke of Han, Chno, while 
drunk fell asleep, and would have caught cold but for the master 
of caps, who covered him with a cloak. When the duke became 
aware of it, lie made inquiries, and learnt that the master of caps 
liad shown him this mark of his affection, yet lie punished him for 
having transgressed his proper duties. A lackey in Wei perceiving 
that the charioteer 、、- as driving- wrong, shouted from behind to- 
wards the chariot with a view to preserving it from danger, but 
was not called to account. The lackey when shouting towards 
the chariot, and the master of the caps when spreading the cloak, 
had the same intentions. The one was afraid that his master 
might catch cold, the other that bis prince would be in danger. 
Both followed the impulses of goodness and kindlieartedness. but 
the man in Flan was punished, the other in Wei., considered a faith- 
ful servant. The lackey had good fortune, the master of the 
caps not. - 

The same principle applies to things as well as to man. 
Bamboos several tenths of feet in height, and trees measuring some 
yards in circumference are cut down by artisans for use. Some 
are worked into tools, and carried here and there, others are not 
taken as material, and neglected. The artisans are not biased in 
favour of some, or prejudiced against others, but knives and adzes 
cut down the wood, as it were, by chance. 

Grain , when steamed, becomes food; out of cooked grain wine 
is distilled. Distilled wine has different flavours, it may be sweet 
or bitter. Cooked food tastes differently, being either hard or soft. 
The cook and the distiller while at work have not different in- 
tentions, but the movements of hands and fingers are subject to 
chance. Well done food is kept in different baskets, and sweet 
wine is filled in various vessels. Supposing' an insect drops into 
such a vessel, then tlie wine is spilled, and not drunk ; should a 
mouse contaminate a basket, the food is thrown away, and not eaten. 

The various plants are all good for something. Those which 
happen to be plucked by a physician, become medicine, others are 
left in the dried-up ravines, and burnt as fuel. So with metals: ― 
some are wrought into swords and halberds, some into spears and 
hoes; so with wood : ― some is shaped into the beams of a palace, 
some into the pillars of a hri(]<>e. The same with fire: ― it may 
liavc to light a candle, or to burn dry grass ; the same with earth : 一 
some builds up halls and mansions, some serves as plaster for 
porches, and with water, w liicli may be used for (; leausiiig tripods 
and cauldrons as well as lor wasliing filthy things. 

Oil riiaiH'c ami Luck. 


All things, whether good or bad. are used by man. If one 
can be sorry for those things, wliicli in this respect have no luck 
and no chance, living creatures are still much more to be pitied. 

Shun was a sage, and ought to have obtained perfect pea (; c 
and happiness in life. But he had a blockhead for a father ami 
a silly mother, and his brother was arrogant and brutal. They 
disliked liim, the faultless, and punished hira, although he did no 
A\'rong. His was extremely bad luck. Confucius was inferior to 
ShuN. He never owned a foot of land in his life, but restlessly 
wandered about, seeking employment. His traces were obliterated,^ 
and his food cut oft? In spite of their being sages these two 
personages were visited with bad luck and bad chance. S/mu still 
happened to take over the empire, which Yao resigned to liiiii, but 
Confucius died in CJdleh-li. If even with the qualities of a sage 
one has no luck, we caunot be. surprised to find much bad luck 
and misfortune among ordinary men. 

1 Chuang Tse XIV, 25v. (T'len-yiin) informs us that the traces of ( onfucuiH 
w'ei'e obliterated in W ? i. Confucius spent there many years of his life, but without 
gaining any influence on its prince, and therefore left 】io trace. 

2 When Confucius was travelling from the Clim State to T'sni, his provisions 
became exhausted, and Confucius with his followers had to suffer hunger. Analects 
XV, 1. CKdn Aud T'sai were situated in south-eastern Honan. 


Lull - Hrng: B. 飞】 etaphysh'al. 

Wrong- Notions about Happiness {Fu-hsii). 

People imiversally believe that he who does good, meets with 
happiness, and that the evil-doers are visited with misfortune. That 
Heaven sends down happiness or misfortune in response to man's 
doings. That the rewards graciously given by the sovereigns to 
the virtuous, are visible, whereas the requital of Heaven and Earth 
is not always apparent. There is nobody, high or low, clever or 
imbecile, who would disagree with this view. Only because people 
see such deeds recorded in books, and witness that sometimes the 
good really become happy, they come to believe this, and take it 
as self-evident. Sometimes also sages and "vvi'se men, with a view 
to inducing people to do good, do not hesitate to assert that it must 
be so, thus showing that virtue gets its reward. Or those who 
hold this view, have themselves experienced that felicity arrived 
at a certain juncture. A thorough investigation, however, will con- 
vince us that happiness is not given by Heaven as a favour. 

Kiug Ilui of Ch u,^ when eating salad, found a leech upon 
his plate, and forthwith swallowed it. He thereupon felt a pain in 
his stomach, and could eat nothing. On his premier asking liiin, 
how he had got this disease, lie replied : ― " Eating' salad, I {bund 
a leech. I thought that, if I scolded those responsible for it, but 
did not punish them, 1 would disregard the law, and not keep up 
my dignity. Therefore, I could not allow my subjects to get wind 
of the matter. Had I, on the other hand, reproved and chastised 
the defaulters, strict law would have required the death of all tho 
cooks and butlers. To that I could not make up iny mind. Fearing, 
lest my attendants should perceive the leech, 1 promptly swal- 
lowed it." 

The premier rose from his seat, bowed twice, and congratulated 
the king, saying, " 1 have been told that Heaven is impartial, and 
that virtue alone is of any avail. You have benevolence and virtue, 
for wliicli Heaven will reward you. Your sickness will do you no 
great harm." 

1 487-43U B.C. 

Wrong Notions about Happiness. 


The same evening, when the king Axitlulrew, the leech came 
out, and an ailment of the heart and stomach of wbicli lie had 
been sufl'ering for a long \\ liilc, was cured at the same time. Could 
not this be considered an evidence of Heaven's partiality for 
virtue? 一 No. This is idle talk. 

If King Hid swallowed the leech, lie was far from being wliat 
a sovereign should be, and for unbecoming deeds Heaven does not 
give marks of its favour. King Ilui could not bear to reproach 
the guilty with the leech for fear, lest his cooks and butlers should 
all have to suffer death according to law. A ruler of a State can 
mete out rewards and punislnnents at pleasure, and pardoning is 
a prerogative of his. Had King Hui reprimanded all for the leech 
found in his salad, the cooks and butlers would have had to submit 
to law, but afterwards the king was at liberty not to allow that 
the lives of men were taken merely for a culinary oftence. Thus 
to forgive, and to remit the penalty, would have been an act of 
great in ere v. If the cooks had received their punishment, but were 
not put to death, they would have completely changed for the 
future. The king condoning a small offence, and sparing the lives 
of the poor devils, would have felt all riglit, and not been sick. 
But lie did nothing of that sort. He ate perforce something 
obnoxious to his health. Allowing his butlers to remain igno- 
rant of their fault, he lost his royal dignity, because he did 
not repress their bad conduct. This Avas objectionable in the 
first place. 

If cooks and butlers in preparing a disli do not make it 
sweet or sour enough, or if an atom of dust no bigger than a 
louse, hardly perceptible or visible to the eye, falls into the salad, 
if in such a case a sovereign in fixing a penalty takes into con- 
sideration the mind of the offender, and therefore abstains from 
divulging his fault, one may well speak of clemency. Now, a leech 
is an inch or more long and '/lo of an inch or more broad. In a 
salad a one-eyed man must see it. The servants of the king 
showed an utter want of respect, taking no care to cleanse the 
salad. Theirs was a most serious offence. For King- Hui not to 
reprimand them was a second mistake. ' 

Id a salad there must be no leech. If so, one does not eat 
it, but throws it to the g-rouucl. Provided one is anxious, lest the 
attendants should discover it, he may hide it in 】iis bosom. Tims 
the leech can escape observatiou. Why must one eat it cotUe-que- 
coiite? If something uneatable, is by inadvertence in a salad so, 
that it can be couct'aled, to eat it by force is a third mistake. 


Lun - Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

If Heaven had rewarded an unbecoming act, an im worthy 
person would have been the recipient of Heaven's grace. The in- 
ability to reprove for the sake of a leecli is, in the eyes of the 
Avorlcl, something very excellent. Now, there is many an excellent 
man, whose deeds are similar to the swallowing of a leecli. If for 
swallowing' a leecli Heaven grants liberation from sickness, excellent 
men must always be without ai lings. The virtue of this kind of 
men is, however, small only and not to be compared with the 
perfect (character of the true sages and their guileless demeanour. 
There are many sages wlio would push their kindness of heart 
so far as to put up with human faults. Yet the Emperor Wu Wang 
was of a weak health, and Confucius seriously ill. Why lias Heaven 
been so inconsistent in tlie distribution of its favour? 

It may be that after King Ilui had swallowed tlie leecli, it 
came out again in a natural way of itself. Whenever anybody 
eats a living thing, it will inevitably die. Tlie stomach is hot 
inside. When the leecli is gulped down, it does not die instant- 
aneously, but owing to the high temperature of the stomach 
it begins to move. Hence tlie paiu in the stomach. After 
a short while, the leecli dies , and the pain in the stoma cli 
ceases also. 

It is ill the nature of leeches to suck blood. King Huts heart 
and bowel complaint was probably iiotliiug but a constipation of 
blood. Therefore this constipation was cured along with the death 
of the blood-sucking animal, just as a in(、ii sufTering from the skin 
disease known as " rat " can be cured by eating a cat, because it 
is natural to cats to eat rats. The varicms things overcome one 
another. Remedies and antidotes are given on the same principal. 
Therefore it cannot be a matter for surprise that by eating a leecli 
a disease should be removed. Living things, when eaten, will 
die. Dead, they invariably come out in a natural way. Conse- 
quently, the re-appearance of the leecli cannot be an act of 
special grace. 

Tlie premier seeing the kindheartedness of King Hui and 
knowing that tlio le(i(、h after (Miteririg the stomach must come forth 
af^'aiu, wIkmi (lead, tluM'elorc bowed t、vi<'e, and congratulated the 
king- u[)()ii liis not being inj ured by Lis disease. He thereby si i owed 
liis f)0\ver of forethoue^ht, and pleased his sovereign. His utterance 
is ill the is:mi(' style as that of Tsc WeL ' wlio said that a star 

1 Astrologer M. tlie court of Duke ( Ivlmj of Hang (51.「)— 4.、】 K.r.) who ven- 
erated liim like a god. 

Wrong Notions about Happiness. 


would shift its place,' and of the "Great Diviner," - who asserted 
that the earth was going to move. 

A family in Siw(j had lor three generations never swerved 
from the patli of virtue. Without any apparent reason a black 
cow belonging to this family dro{)pe(l a white calf, ('oufucius was 
asked, and said that it was a lucky omen, aud that the calf ought 
to be sacrificed to tlie spirits, which was done accordingly. After 
one year, die fatlier of the family became blind without a reason. 
The cow then produced a white calf a second time. The fatliei- 
sent his son to ask Confucius, who replied that it was a propitious 
portent, and that the animal must be immolated, which was done 
again. After a year, the son lost his eye-siglit, nobody knew why. 
Subsequently, CIt u attacked Sung, and besieged its capital. At that 
time the besieged were in such a distress, that they exchanged 
their sous, and ate tlieni, breaking their bones, wliicli thoy used 
as firewood. It was but for their blindness that father and son 
were not called upon to mount guard on the city wall. When 
the enemy's army raised the siege, father and son could see again. 
Tliis is believed to be a proof of how the spirits requited great 
deserts, but it is idle talk : ― 

If father aud son of that family in Sung did so much good, 
that the spirits rewarded them, why must they first make them 
blind, and afterwards restore their sight? Could tliey not protect 
tlu'in, if tliey had not been blind and always seeing? Being unable 
to help men, if not blind, the spirits would also be powerless to 
protect the blind. 

Had the two commanders of Sung and Cli u made such a 
furious onslaught, that tlie weapons were blunted, the dead bodies 
covered with blood, the warriors captivated, or killed never to 
come back, then blindness miglit have afforded an excuse for not 
going to the front, aud tliat might have been construed as a divine 
protection. But before tlie armies of Suug and Cliu came to blows, 
Hua Yuan and Tse Fan^ made a covenant, and weut back. The 
two forces returned home unscathed, and the blades of the swords, 
and the points of the arrows were not blunted by use. The duty 

1 The planet Mars (cf. p. 127). 

2 The " Great Diviner " of Ch'i, on whom vid. p. 112. 

3 This fact is mentioned in the Shi-chi chap. 38, p. 14v. The siege took place 
from 595—594 b.c. The whole story seems to be a quotation from Lieh Tse VlII, 6v. 
or from lJuai Kan Tse XVIII, 6 who narrate it with almost the same words. 

4 Hua ruan was the general of Smg, Tse Fan that of Cfiu. Both armies 
being cujually exhausted Ijy I'aiiiiiie, the siege was i-aised. 


Lun -Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

of mounting the city wall did not entail death, consequently the 
two good men could not liave obtained the divine protection, while 
this duty was being performed. In case they had not been blind 
at that time, they would not have died either. The blind and 
the not blind all got off. What benefit did those good men derive 
then from tlieir blindness, for Avliicli the spirits were respon- 

Were the families of tlie blind alone well off, when the State 
of Sung was short of provisions'? All had to exchange their sons 
with the families which mounted guard on tlie wall, and they 
split their bones. If in sucli straits sucli good people alone were 
still blind and unable to see, the spirits in giving their aid have 
failed to discriniiuate justly between the good and the wicked. 

Father and son liad probably been blinded by exposure to 
cold wind, a mere cliauce. When the siege a\ as over, tliey owed 
their cure to chance also. The world knowing that tliey had done 
good works, that they had offered two wliite calves in sacrifice, 
that during tlie war between Simg and C/iu tliey alone liad not 
mounted tlie wall, and that after the siege tliey regained tlieir 
sight, thought this to be tlie recompense of virtue, and the pro- 
tection granted by tlie spirits. 

When tlie minister of G/i u, Sun Shu Ao ^ was a boy, lie- 
beheld a two-headed snake, which lie killed and buried. He tlien 
went home, and cried before liis mother. ! She asked liiin, what 
was the matter. He replied: ― "I have lieard say that lie who 
sees a two-headed suake must die. Now, wlien I Avent out, I saw 
a two-headed snake. I am afraid that 1 must leave yoii and die, 
hence my tears." Upon his mother inquiring, where the snake 
was now, lie rejoined: 一 " For fear lest others should see it later, 
I have killed it outright, and buried it." 

The mother said : ― "I have lieard that Heaven will recom- 
pense 1 lid den virtue. You are certainly not going to die, for Heaven 
must reward you." And, in fact, Sun Shu Ao did not die, but, later 
on, became prime minister of Cli u. For interring one snake lie 
received two Aivours. This makes it clear that Heaven rewards 
good actions. 

' Ac (! ordiiif^ to Lirh 7'w and Hwii Kan Tsp tlio two hliiid men were, in fact, 
saved from death by their blindness. lAeh Tse Inc. cit. adds tliat over liaiC of" the 
defeiiclcr'y of tlie city wall were killed, and Ihuii Nun Tse says tliat all except the 
two blind men were massacred by tlie besiegers. Warn/ ( 'h'unj follows the Shi-chi 
ill liis narrative of tlie salvation of the city. 

•2 (Itli cent. u.c. 

Wrong Notions ;il)out Happiness. 


No, it is idle talk. That he who sees a two-headed snake, 
must die, is a common superstition, and that Heaven gives happiness 
as a reward for hidden virtue, a common prejudice. Sun Shu Ao, 
convinced of the superstition, buried the suake, and his mother, 
addicted to the prejudice, firmly relied on the lieavenly retaliation. 
Tins would amount to nothing else than that life and death were 
uot depending on fate, but on the death of a snake. 

T len Wen^ of 67/?', Prince of Men^ C/iang, was born on the 
5th day of the 5tli moon.^ His father T len Ying expostulated witli 
his niotlier saying, why do you rear liim ? She replied : ― " Why 
do you not wisli to rear a iii'tli mouth cliild? ' T len Ying said : ― 
" A fil'tli month son will become as liigli as a door, and kill both 
liis father and luotlier." She rejoined: ― "Does the Jmmau fate 
depend on Heaven or on doors? If on Heaven, you have nothing 
to complain of, if on a door, lie must become as liigli as a door. 
Who ever attained to that?" ^ 

Later on, T ien Wi'n grew as high as a door, but T ien Ying 
(lid not die. Tims the apprehension to rear a cliild iu the fifth 
mouth proved unfounded. The disgust at the sight of a two- 
headed snake is like the repugnance to rear a child of the fifth 
month. Since the father of sucli a cliild did not die, it follows 
that a two-headed snake cannot bring misfortune either. 

From this point of view, lie 、vho sees a two-headed snake, 
does not die, as a matter of course, but not on account of having 
buried a snake. It" for interring one snake one receives two fa- 
vours, how many must one obtain for ten snakes? Sun Shu Ao by 
burying a snake, lest other persons should look at it. showed an 
excellent character. The works of excellent men do not merely 
consist in burying snakes. Sim Shu Ao may have accomplished 
many other meritorious acts, before he buried the snake. Endowed 
with a good nature by Heaven, people do good under all circum- 
stances. Such well deserving persons ouglit to see propitious 
things, instead of that he unexpectedly falls in with a snake that 
kills man. Was perliaps Sun Shu Ao a wicked man, before lie 
beheld the snake, and did Heaven intend to kill him, but condoned 
his guilt, and spared his life upon seeing him burying the snake? 

1 Died 279 b.c. 

- This day is still now regarded as very unlucky in many respects, although 
it be the Great Summer Festival or the Dragon Boat Festival. On the reasons 
of. De Groot, Les Fi'tes annuelles a imotii. Vol. I, p. 320. 

3 A quotation from the Shi-chi, chap. 75, p. 2v. 

Liin - Henij. 11 


Lun-Heiig: B. Metaphysical. 

A stone is hard from the time of its formation, a fragrant 
flower has its perfume from the time, when it came out. If it be 
said that Sun Shu Ao's virtue became manifest, wlieu lie buried 
the snake, then he would not have received it from Heaven at 
his birth. 

The Coufucianist T 漏 g Wti Hsin and the Mehist CJi an Tse i 
met, and spoke about T(fo. C/i'an Tse extolled the Mehist theory 
of the help of the spirits, 2 and as an instance adduced duke Mu 
of Ch in. His excellent qualities were so brilliant that God granted 
him an age of ninety years, 

Cli an Tse gets into trouble with Yao and Shwt, who were not 
favoured with a long life, and Chi eh and C/tou, who did not die 
young. Yao^ 67""" Chieh, and Chou belong to remote antiquity, but 
in modern times likewise duke Mu of Cli in^ and duke Wen of Chin ^ 
are difficult to account for. 

The posthumous name expresses man's actions. What he 
has done during his life-time, appears in liis posthumous title. 
Mu is an expression for error and disorder,*"' Wen means virtue 
and goodness. Did Heaven reward error and disorder with 
long years, and take the life of him wlio practised virtue and 
benevolence ? 

The reign of Duke Mu did not surpass that of Duke Wen of 
CMn, and the latter's posthumous title was better than that of 
Duke Mu, But Heaven did not extend Wen of dims life, he 
only granted longer years to Duke M,《, Thus the retribution 

1 A scholar of the Han time. 

2 Demons and spirits who reward the virtuous, and punish the perverse, 
play an important part in the doctrine of Mr Ti. (Cf. Fabpv, Micius^ El b erf eld 
1877, p. 91.) 

3 The parallel passage in chap. XXVII speaks of nineteen extra years, with 
which the Duke was rewarded. 

4 658-619 B.C. 

5 634-626 B.C. ' 

'; The Mu in the Duke of Cli ins name ― docs not mean : - error and 

disorder, it signifies : ― majestic, gnu id, adiniral)le. But this Mu is often replaced 
by the character j| 多, which has the bad ineniiing given by Wmiff (,h^ung. I pre- 
sume that in the original text of the Lun-hnig the latter character was used, whereas 
we now read tlie other. In the parallel passage chaj). XXVII 緣 is actually 
written, and so it is in tlie Shi-chi chap. 5, p. !) v. et seq. 

7 The Shi-chi knows nothing of such a miracle. Duke J\!a was a great 
warrior as wns Duke Wrn, hut the latter's rule is described by Sse Ma ChHen as 
very enliglitened and beneficial. (Cf. on Duke Mu : - ( ^havannes^ Mvm. Historiques, 
Vol. II, p. 25-4:), and on Duke Wm. Vol. IV, p. 291-308.) 

Wrong Notions ahout Happiness. 


of Heaven would appear as capricious and perverse as Duke Mu 
himself was. 

Under heaven the good men are few, and the bad ones many. 
The good follow right principles, the bad infringe Heaven's com- 
腿 mis. Yet the lives of bad men are not short therefore, nor the 
years of the good ones prolonged. How is it that Heaven does 
not arrange that the virtuous always enjoy a life of a hundred 
years, and that the wicked die young, or through their guilt? 



l.un-Hcng: B. Metaphysical. 

Wrong Notions on Unhappiness {Huo-hsii). 

Since what the world calls happiness and divine grace is be- 
lieved to be the outcome of moral conduct, it is also a common 
belief that the victims of misfortune and disgrace are thus visited 
because of their wickedness. Those sunk in sin, and steeped in 
iniquity Heaven and Eartli punisli, and the spirits retaliate upon 
them. These penalties, whether heavy or light, will be enforced, 
and the retributions of the spirits reach far and near. 

Tse Hsia i is related to have lost liis sight, while mourning lor 
his son. Tseng Tse^^ by way of condolence wept. Tse Hsia tliere- 
upon exclaimed "O Heaven, I was not guilty! " Iseng Tse grew 
excited, and said " In what way are you innocent, Shang? I served 
our master witli you between the 67m ^ and the Sse, but you retired 
to the region above the West Rivei',5 where you lived, until you 
grew old. You misled the people of the W est River into the belief 
that you were equal to the master. That was your first fault. 
When mourning for your parents, you did nothing extraordinary, 
that people would talk about. That was your second fault. But 
in your grief over your son, you lost your eye-sight. That 、vas 
your third fault. How dare you say that you are not guilty? " 

Tse Hsia threw away his staff, went down on his knees and 
said, "I have failed, I have failed ! I have left lumian society, and 
also led a solitary life for ever so long."*' 

Thus Tse FIsia having lost his siglit, Tseug Tse reproved liim for 
liis faults. Tse Hsia threw away his stick, and bowed to Tseng Tses 
words. Because, as they say, Heaven really punishes the guilty, 
therefore evidently his eyes lost \\w\v sight, IIaviiii>' thus liumbly 

1 A disciple <»f ( 'Ovfiidus, 

2 One of the most I'anious disciples of ('onfacim, wliose iiaine has been con- 
nected with the authorship of the Great Learning. 

3 Pa Hhanf} was the name of T,se Hsia, Tse Hsia is his style. 

4 A small river In the province of Shantung, flowing into the & <ۥ 

5 Presumably the western course of the Yellow River. 

Quoted from the lA-k" T'an Kmig I (cf. Lcgye's translation, Sacred Books 
ol" the East Vol. XXVII, p. 135). 

Wrong Notions on Hiilia j)pinoss. 


acknowledged liis guilt, lie is reported to have regained his sight 
by degrees. Everybody says so, nevertheless a tliorough investiga- 
tion will show us that this belief is illusory. 

Loss of sight is like loss of hearing. Loss of sight is blind- 
ness, and loss of hearing', deafness. lie who suffers from deafness, 
is not believed to have faults, therefore it would be erroneous to 
speak of guilt, if a man becomes blind. Now tlie diseases of the 
ear and the eye are similar to those of the heart and the stomach. 
In case the ear and the eye lose their faculties, one speaks of guilt 
perhaps, but can any fault be inferred, when the heart or the 
stomach are sick? 

Po Niu was ill. Confucius grasped liis hand through the window 
saying "It will kill liim, such is his fate! Sucli a man to get 
such a disease! " ' Originally Confucius spoke of Po Nius bad luck, 
and therefore pitied him. Had Po Nius guilt been tlie cause of liis 
sickness, then Heaven would liave punished him for his wickedness, 
and lie would have been on a level witli Tse Hsia. In that case 
Confucius ought to have exposed his guilt, as Tseng Tse did with Tse 
Hsia. But instead he spoke of fate. Fate is no fault. 

Heaven inflicts its punishments on man, as a sovereign does 
on liis subjects. If a man thus chastised, submits to tlie punisli- 
meut, the ruler Avill often pardon liim. Tse Hsia admitted his guilt, 
humiliated himself, and repented. Therefore Heaven in its extreme 
kindness ought to have cured his blindness, or, if Tse Hsias loss of 
sight was not a retribution from Heaven, Tse Hsia canuot have been 
thrice guilty. 

Is not leprosy much worse than blindness? If lie avIio lost 
liis sight, had three faults, was tlien the leper- ten times guilty ? 

Yen Yuan ^ died young and Tse Lu came to a premature end, 
being chopped into minced meat. Thus to be butchered is tlie 
most horrid disaster. Judging from Tse Hsias blindness, both Yen 
Yuan and Tse Lu must have been guilty of a hundred crimes. From 
this it becomes evident that the statement of Tseng Tse 、vas pre- 

1 Quotation of Analects VI, 8, 

2 Po Niu, who was suffering from leprosy. 

• 3 The favourite disciple of Con/ucins, whose name was Yen Hui. 

4 The Tso-chuan, Book XII Duke Ai 15th year, relates that Tse Lu was killed 
ill a revolution in Wei, struck with spears, no mention being made of his having 
been hacked to pieces (cf. Legge, Ch'un CKiu Pt. 11, p. 842). This is related, however, 
ill the Li-ki, T'an-kung I {Legge Sacred Books Vol. XXVU, p. 123) and by Iluai 
Nan Tse Til, 13v. 


Lun - Ilong : B. IMetapliysical. 

Tse Hsia lost liis sight, while bewailing his son. The feelings 
for one's children are common to mankind, whereas thankfulness 
to one's parents is soniotiiues forced. When Hsia was mourning 
for his father and mother, people did not notice it, but, when 
bewailing his son, he lost his siglit. This shows that liis de- 
votion to liis parents was rather weak, but that lie passionately 
loved liis sou. Consequently he slied innumerable tears. Thus 
ceaselessly weeping, lie exposed liimself to the wind, and became 
blind. ^ 

Tseng Tse following the common ])rejudice invented three faults 
for Tse Hsia. Tlie latter likewise stuck to tlie popular belief. Be- 
cause lie had lost his siglit, lie humbly acknowledged his guilt. 
Neither Tseng Tse nor Tse Hsia could get of these popular ideas. 
Therefore in arguing, tliey did not rank very liigli among Confncms 

King* Hsiang of 67/ ^ sent a sword to Po Ch i,^ who there- 
upon was going to commit suicide, falling on the sword. " How 
have 1 offended Heaven?," quoth he. After a long while lie re- 
joined : ― " At all events I must die. At the battle of CJiang- 
ping 3 the army of Chao, several hundred thousand men, surren- 
dered, but I deceived them, and caused them to be buried alive. 
Therefore 1 deserve to die." Afterwards lie made away witli 

Po Cli i Avas well aAvare of his former crime, and acqiiies(*ed 
in the punishment consequent upon it. He knew, liow lie himself 
liad failed, but not, why the soldiers of Chao were buried alive, 
ir Heaven really had punished the guilty, what offence against 
Heaven had the soldiers of Chao committed, who surrendered? Had 
they been wounded and killed on the battle-field by the random 
blows of weapons, many out of the four hundred thousand would 
(certainly have survived. Why werc^ these also buried in spite of 
their goodness and innocence? Those soldiers being unable to ob- 
tain Heaven s protection through their virtue, why did Po C/ii alone 
suffer the condign punishment for his crime from Heaven ? We sec 
IVoin this that Po Cli i was mistaken in what he said. 

' KiiiM- ( 11 ao Ihiamj ol' ('Hm 305 - 249 b.c. 

- A famous gcm'ral oC the ( lim State who liy trearliery aiiniliilated tlic army 
of ( hao Vid. p. 136. 

3 In Sh"vM. 

4 Po ( 'h i had fallen into di-sl'avour with his lieu,e upon refusing to lead another 
campaign against (Jk<io. 

Wrong Notions on IJiiluippiiies.s. 


The Cliin emperor Erh Shih Hua)ig Ti * sent an envoy to Me/ffj 
T ien, 乜 and commanded 】iim to commit suicide. Meny T km heaving; 
a deep sigh said "How have 1 failed against Heaven? 1 di(* in- 
nocent." After a long while, lie slowly began, "Yet I am guilty, 
therefore 1 am doomed to die. When 1 was constructing the Great 
Wall connecting Liao-tiing 3 with Lin-t ao^^ ten tliousaud Li in a 
straight line, I could not avoid cutting the veins of the earth. 
That Avas my guilt." Upon this lie swallowed a drug, and expired.^ 

The Grand Annalist Sse Ma Cli ten finds fault with hi in. "When 
the C/i in dynasty, lie said, liad exterminated tlie feudal princes, and 
peace was not yet restored to the empire, nor the wounds healed, 
Mmg T'ien, a famous general at that time, did not care to strongly 
remonstrate with the emperor, or help people in their distress, 
feeding the old, befriending the orphans, or bringing about a general 
concord. He flattered those in power, and instigated them to great 
exploits. That a\ as the fault of men of his type, wlio well deserved 
to be ])ut to death. Why did he make the veins of the earth 

If what Meng T'ien said was wrong, the strictures of the 
Grand Annalist are not to tlic point either. How so? Meng T ien 
being guilty of having cut the veins of the earth, deserved death 
for this great crime. How did the eartli, wliicli nourishes all being's, 
wrong man? Meng T ien, who cut its veins, knew very 、vell that 
by doing so he had committed a crime, but he did not know, why 
by lacerating the veins of the earth lie had made himself guilty.? 
Therefore it is of no consequence, whether Meng T im tlius im- 
peached himself, or not. The Grand Annalist blames Meng T ten 
for not having strongly protested, wlien he was a famous general, 

I 209-207 B.C. 

•2 A general of Erh Shih Huang Tis father, (,Kin Shih Huang Ti, who fought 
successfully against the Hsiung-nu, and constructed the Great Wall as a rampart of 
defence against their incursions. 

3 The Manchurian province of Feng-fien, 

4 A city in Kanm at the western extremity of the Great Wall. 

5 Quoted from the Shi-chi chap. 88, p. 5. 

G Remarks of Sse Ma Cfiien to Shi-chi chap. 88, p. 5v. 

' The earth is here treated like an animated being, and its wounding by 
digging out ditches for ,the earth-works requisite for the Great Wall, and by piercing 
mountains, is considered a crime. Bui provided that Meng T'ien suffered the puiiish- 
nieiit of his guilt, then another difficulty arises. Why did Heaven allow Earth to 
1)6 thus maltreated, why did it punish innocent Earth ? Wang CKung,s solution is 
very simple. Heaven neither rewards nor punishes. Its working is spontaneous, 
unpremeditated, and purpojseless. Meng T ten's death is nothing but an unfelici- 
tous accident. 

168 Lxm-Uvug: B. 

that therefore he met witli this disaster, for those that do not 
speak, wlien they ought to remonstrate, will have to sufler a vio- 
lent death. 

Sse Ma Cli ien himself liad to suffer for Li lAng in the warm 
room.i According to the Grand Annalist's own view the misfortune 
suffered tells against a person. Consequently capital pimisliment takes 
place by Heaven's decree. If Sse Ma Cli ien censures Meny T'ien for 
not having' strongly remonstrated with liis sovereign, wlierefore lie 
incurred his disaster, then there must have been something wrong 
about himself likewise, since lie was put into the warm room. If 
he was not wrong, tlien his criticisms on Meng T ien are not just. 

In his memoir on Po Yi'^ the Grand Annalist, giving examples 
of good and bad actions says, " Out of his seventy disciples Con- 
fucius only recommended Yen Yuan for his ardent love of learning. 
Yet Yen Yuan was often destitute. He lived on bran, of which he 
could not even eat liis fill, aud suddenly died iu his prime. Does 
Heaven reward good men thus?" 

" Robber Che assassinated innocent people day after day, and 
ate their flesh. By his savageness and imposing haughtiness lie 
attracted several thousand followers, witli whom he scourged tlie 
empire. Yet he attained a very great age after all. Why was he 
so specially favoured? " 

Yeii Yuan ought not to have died so prematurely, and robber 
Che should not have been kept alive so long. Not to wonder at 
Yen Yuans premature death, but to say that Meng T'ien deserved 
to die, is inconsistent. 

Tlie Han general Li Kuang ^ said in a conversation which he 
had with tlie diviner Wang She, " Ever since tlie Han* liave fought 
the Hsiung-nu,^ 1 was there. But several tens of officers of a loAver 

1 For his intercession in favour of the defeated general Li Ling the empei'or 
Wu Ti condemned Sse Ma CKien to castration, which penalty was uiflicted upon 
him in a warm room serving for that purpose. (Cf. ( 'hnvannes, Mem. HiMoriqiiefi 
Vol. I. p. XL.) 

2 Shi-cid chap. 61, p. 3v. Po I'i (12tli cent, b.c.) and liis elder brother Shu (JhH 
were sons of tlie Prince of Ku-chit in modern Chili. Their father wished to make 
the younger brother Ska Ch'i his heir, but he refused to deprive liis elder brother 
of his birth-riglit, who, on his part, would not ascend the throne against his father's 
will. Both left their country to wander about in the mountains, where at last they 
(lied of cold and Iimiger. They are regarded as models of virtue. 

3 Died 125 B.C. 

■* 'I'he Han dynasty. Tlie Former //'〃' dynasty reigned Ironi 21 Hi b.c. 25 a.d. 
tlie Later Hun dynasty ("roiii 25 220 a.u. 
:' A Turkish tribe. 

Wrong Notions on Uiihappiiiess. 


rank than commander of a city gate, with scarcely moderate abil- 
ities, have won laurels in the campaigns against tlie Iln ^ and mar- 
quisates withal. I do not yield the palm to these nobles, but how 
is it that I have not even actjuired a square foot of land as a 
re 、、- anl of luy services, and inurh less been eiifeoli'ed with a city? 
Are my looks not tliose of a marquis? Surely it is my fate." 

Wang She asked liim to think, whether there was any tiling 
、vhich always gave liim pangs of conscience. Li Kuang replied, 
" When I was magistrate of Lning-hsi^^ the Ch iang^ continuously 
rebelled. I induced over eight hundred to submission, and, by a 
stratagem, liad them all killed on the same day. Tins is the only 
thing for which I feel sorry upto now." 

Wang She rejoined: ― " There can be no greater crime than 
to murder tliose that have surrendered. That is the reason, A\ hy 
you, general, did not get a marquisate." * 

Li Kuang agreed with him, and others who heard of it, be- 
lieved this view to be true. Now, not to become a marquis is like 
not becoming an emperor. Must he who is not made a marquis, 
have anything to rue, and he who does not become emperor, have 
committed any wrong? Confucius was not made an emperor, but 
nobody will say of liim that he had done any Avrong, whereas, 
because Li Kuang did not become a marquis, Wang She said that he 
had something to repent of. But bis reasoning is wrong. 

Those wlio go into these questions, mostly hold that, whether 
a man will be invested witli a marquisate or not, is predestinated 
by Heaven, and that marks of Heaven's fate appear in his body. 
When tlie great general Wei CKing^ was in the Chien-chang palace, 
a deported criminal with an iron collar predicted his fate to the 
effect that he Avas so distinguislied, that lie would even be made 
a marquis. Later on, lie in fact became a marquis over ten tliou- 
sand families, owing to his great services. Before Wei Cliing had 
performed his great achievements, the deported criminal saw those 
signs pointing to his future rank. Consequently, to be raised to 
the rank of a marquis depends on fate, and man cannot attain to 
it by his works. What the criminal said turned out true, as shown 
by the result, whereas Wang She's assertion is untenable and with- 
out proof. Very often people are perverse and selfish without 

1 A general term for non-Chinese tribes in the north. 

2 District in Kansu. 

3 Tribes in the West of China. 

4 A quotation from Shi-chi chap. p. 6, the biography of General Li 

5 A favourite and a general of Ha?i Wu 'J,i, died 106 b.c. 


Luii - Hong: B. Metaphysical. 

becoming unhappy by it, and others who always follow the path 
of virtue, may lose their happiness. Wang She's opinion is of the 
same kind as the self-reproach of Po Cli i, and the self-impeaoliment 
of Meng T ien. 

In this flurried, bustling world it constantly happens that 
people rob and murder each other in their greed for wealth. Two 
merchants having travelled together in the same cart or the same 
boat a thousand Li, one kills the other, when they arrive at a far- 
off place, and takes away all his property. The dead body is left 
on the spot, uncared for, and the bones bleecli in the sun unburied. 
In the water, the corpse is eaten up by fish and turtles, on land, 
ants and vermin feed upon it. The lazy fellows won't exert their 
strength in agriculture, but resort to commerce, and eveu that re- 
luctantly, in order to amass grain and goods. Wlieu then in a 
year of scarcity they have not enough to still the hunger of their 
bellies, they knock down their fellow-citizens like beasts, cut them 
to pieces, and eat their flesh. No difference is made between good 
and bad men, they are all equally devoured. It is not generally 
known, and the officials do not hear of it. In communities of over 
a thousand men up to ten thousand only one man out of a hundred 
remains alive, and nine out often (lie. This is the height of lawless- 
ness and atrocity, yet all tlie murderers walk publicly about, become 
wealthy men, and lead a gay and pleasant life, without Heaven 
punishing them for their utter want of sympathy and benevolence. 

They kill one another, when they meet on the roads, not 
because they are so poor, that they cannot undertake anything', but 
only because they are passing through hard times, they feed on 
liuman flesh, thus bringing endless misery on tlieir fellow-creatures, 
and compassing tlieir premature deaths. How is it possible that 
they can make their guilt public, openly showing to the whole 
world the indelible prool's thereof ? IVauff She \' opinion can certainly 
not be right. 

The historians tell us that Li Sse^^ envious that Han Fei Tse ^ 
equalled him in talent, liad him assassinated in jaiH in Ch^in, but 

1 A Chinese does not take exception to the incongruity of the equation: ― 
100:1 = 10:1. Tlie "leaning is plain : 一 a small percentage of survivors, and a 
great many dying. 

- IVinio Minister of (,'h ,;" Shih IIvhikj 7V ; uid a great scholar. He studied 
together with I Ian Fei under tlic pliilosoplier Hmn Tse. 

■* A Tiioist pliilosopliei", son o(* a duke of the Han State. 

^ By his intri^nics L; N.、r had ituliirod the king of 《 ,k'in to imprison Han Fei 
Tse, lie then .sent liiin poison, with wliicli //〃" Fei T'se committed .suicide. Vid. 
iShi-chi chap. 63, p. llv., Biography oi' llan Fei Tse. 

Wrong Notions on UiiIiappiiK^ss. 171 

that, afterwards, he was torn to pieces by carts, ^ furthermore tliat 
Shaug Yang^^ under pretence of his old friendship, captured Anff, 
prince of Wei^ but that, subsequently, he had to suffer death. They 
Avish to imply that those men had to endure these misfortunes as 
a punishment for their having destroyed a wise man, or broken an 
old friendship. For wliat cause had Han Fei Tse given, to be in- 
carcerated by Li Sse, or what fault had prince Ang committed, to 
be taken prisoner by Shaug Yang'} Flow did the murder of a 
scholar, who died in prison, and the breaking of an old friendship 
resulting in the arrest of the prince, bring about the violent death 
of the culprit, torn to pieces by carts, ^ or the decapitation? If 
Han Fei Tse or prince Aug were wicked, aiicl Heaven had placed 
retribution in the hands of Li Sse and Shaug Ya"g, tliea the latter 
would liave acted by Heaven's order, and be deserving of his 
reward, not of misfortune. Were Han Fei Tse and prince Ang 
blameless, and not punished by Heaven, tlien Li Sse and Shaug 
Yang ought not to have imprisoned and captured them. 

It will be argued that Han Fei Tse and Prince Ang had con- 
cealed their crimes, and hidden their faults so, that nobody heard 
about them, but Heaven alone ki)ew, and therefore they suffered 
death and mishap. The guilt of men consists, citlier in outrages 
OM the wise, or in attacks on the well-minded. If they commit 
outrages on the wise, what wrong have the victims of these out- 
rages done? And if they attack the well-minded, what fault have 
the people thus attacked committed? * 

When misery or prosperity, fortune or mishap are falling to 
man's share with greater intensity, it is fate, when less so, it is 

1 Li Sse fell a victim to the intrigues of the powerful eunuch ( hao luw. 
The Shi-chi chap. 87, p. 20 v., Biography of Li Sse, relates that he was cut asunder 
at the waist on the market place. At all events he was executed in an atrocious 
way. The tearing to pieces by carts driven in opposite directions is ;» punishment 
several times mentioned in the CKun-cKiu, 

2 Shang Yang is Wei Yang, Prince of Shnvg^ died 338 b.c. In the service of 
the CKin State he defeated an army of Wei^ commanded by Prince Amj^ whom he 
treacherously seized, and assassinated at a meeting, to which he had invited him as 
ail old friend. According to the Shi-chi, chap. G8, p. 9, Biography of Prince Shany, 
he lost his lite in battle against his former master, and his corpse was torn to pieces 
by carts like Li Sse. 

3 The culprit being bound to the carts, which then were driven in different 

4 Why does Heaven punish the innocent through the guilty ? If Hmi Fei Tse 
and Ang had sinned in secret, Heaven would have been unjust towards those they 
had wronged, and so on. 


Lun -Hrng: B. Metaphysical, 

time. T'ai Kung: was in great distress, when he happened to be 
enfeoffed with a territory by the Chou king Wen Wang. Ning Clip 
was living in obscurity and difficulties, when Duke Huan of Clii 
gave him au appointment. It caunot be said that these two men, 
wlien they were poor and miserable, had done wrong, but had 
reformed, when they obtained their investment or appointment. 
Calamity and prosperity have their time, and good or bad luck 
depend on fate. 

T ai Kung and Ning Ch i were worthies, but they may have 
had their faults. Sages, however, possess perfect virtue. Never- 
theless Shun was several times almost done to deatli by the foul 
play of liis father and brother. When lie met with Yao, the 
latter yielded the throne to him, and raised him to the imperial 
dignity. It is evident that, when Shun had to endure these in- 
sidious attacks, he was not to blame, and that lie did not behave 
well, when he was made emperor. First, liis time had not yet 
come, afterwards, liis fate was fulfilled, and liis time came. 

When princes and ministers in olden days were first distressed, 
and afterwards crowned with success, it was not, because they liad 
at first been bad, and Heaven sent them calamities, or that sub- 
sequently they suddenly improved, and then were helped and pro- 
tected by the spirits. The actions and doings of one individual 
from his youth to his deatli bear the same character from first to 
last. Yet one succeeds, tlie other fails, one gets on, the other 
falls oil", one is penniless, the other well-to-do, one. thriving, the 
other ruined. All this is the result of chance and luck, and the 
upshot of fate and time. 

1 A high officer, who had gone into exile to avoid the tyrannous rule of 
Chou llsin 1122 b.c, and subsequently joined Wm Wang. 

2 King Chi lived in the 7th cent. b.c. 

3 Cf. p. 173. 

Auspicious Portents. 



Auspicious Portents {Chi-ym). 

Whenever men are predestinated for something grand by 
Heaven, auspicious portents are seen ou Earth. Wlien such appear 
on Earth, Heaven's destiny is at work. There are different kinds 
of omens, either do tliev appear in the men themselves or they 
are lucky signs, or take the form of a sort of halo. 

Hi 誦 g Ti is reported to have been an embryo for 20 months, 
before he was born. After birtli his intelligence was marvellous. 
Weak as lie was, lie could already speak. When he was full-grown, 
he took • the lead of all the feudal princes, who submitted to his 
sway. He taught the bears to fight, and thus defeated Yen Ti, 
who was completely routed. His nature was different from that 
of other people, therefore lie rtmainecl for ten months longer in 
his motlier's womb. Being predestined to become emperor, he 
tauglit the creatures, and they were subservient to him. 

Yao s body was like the sun, when closely inspected, viewed 
at a distance, lie appeared like a cloud. When the great flood 
rose up to the sky, and snakes and dragons did mischief, Yao em- 
ployed Yil for tlie regulation of tlie water and the expulsion of 
tlie snakes and dragons. The water, 、vlien regulated, flowed east- 
ward, and snakes and dragons absconded. His bones were ab- 
normal, thence the extraordinary events. As he was endowed with 
a wonderful intellect, portents appeared in things. Since by fate 
lie was to become noble, he ascended the imperial throne as a 
marquis of T ctug. 

Previous to his meeting with Yao, Shun was living unmarried 
in a nasty, out-of-the-way place. Ka Sou ^ together with Hsiang'^ 
attempted to kill him. Tliey bade him complete tlie building of 
a granary, and kiudled a fire underneath. Tliey directed him to 
dig a well, and then tliey threw earth down from above. Shun 
contrived to get out of the granary unharmed by the fire, and, 
to make liis escape from the well by one side, unlmrt by the 

1 The harsh and unfeeling father of the virtuous Shun, 

2 Shuns wicked brother. 


Lull -Hong: B. Metaphysical. 

earth. I Wlien Yao heard of this, lie summoned him, and gave liim 
an office on trial. Shun filled liis post with great credit, and no 
disorder occurrod. He would enter a solitary, big forest without 
being pounced upon by tigers and wolves, or being bitten by vipers 
or snakes. In tlie midst of tliunclerstorm and a gushing rain-shoAvor 
lie (lid not go astray.- 3Ien bent upon liis assassination, could do 
him no liarm, and wild birds and reptiles with venomous stings 
were unable to vrouml him. Suekleiily lie attained imperial sway, 
and 1110 u ate cl the throne of the son of heaven. 

Prior to Hou Chi's^ time, his mother* walked upon the foot- 
step of a giant. Others say that she put on Ti Kits ^ clothes, or 
that she rested in Ti Ku's place. At all events, she became en- 
ceinte witli a child, wliicli she cast away in a narrow alley, re- 
garding it as an ill omen. But oxen and horses did not dare to 
tread upon it. She placed it on ice, but tlie birds covered it witli 
their wings. From all these auspicious signs converging on the 
baby's body, the mother learned, what wonderful qualities it pos- 
sessed. Therefore, she brought it up. Wlien Hon Chi had attained 
to manhood, he assisted Yao, and rose to the rank of a minister of war. 

The Wiisun^' Prince bearing tlie surname of iC^m Mo had his 
fatlier slain by the Hsiung-nu,'^ and was himself thrown into the 
desert, still alive. Tlie birds fed him on flesli, wliicli they carried 
in their beaks. Tlie Shew Yii^ was amazed at this, which appeared 
to liim supernatural. He took care of the boy, and, wlien lie liad 
grown strong, he gave liim a military post. After lie liad won 
many laurels, the Shan Yii put the people formerly obeying his 
fatlier again under Kun Mo\s command, and directed liim always 
to guard the Western City.^ 

1 QtMendus Book V, Pt.I, chap. II {Legge p. 222-223) and Shi-chi chap. I, p. 23. 

2 Vid. Shu-king Pt. II, Book I, chap. II. 

3 A mythical personage, the "Lord of the Grain," said to have been Director 
of Husbandry under Yao and Shun. 

4 The word mother, required by the context, must be supplemented in the 

5 A legendary emperor prior to }'"o, Hou Chi's father, after one tradition. 

" A Kir(jhU tribe settled in the N. E. of Ferghana in the 2nd cent. b.c. {Shi- 
chi chap. 128, j). 4). 

7 The powerful Turkish tribes, which were China's northern neighbours during 
I Ian time, pcrliajhs tlic Hum, Long wars were waged between the Chinese and 
the Ilftiung-nu, 

^ The title of the chieftain of the Ilsiung - nu. 

9 Til is pa.ssngo is taken almost literally from the Shi-chi ('liap. 1 28, p. Ov. 
Tlic Slii'clu still adds that K an Mo was suckled by a slic-vvoU", 

Auspicious Portents. 


Hon Chi Avas not to be cast aw ay, tlierefcu'e the oxen and 
horses did not kick him, and the birds covered and protected hiin 
with tlieir plumage. TCun Mo was not doomed to die, therefore 
the birds came witli flesh in their beaks to feed 1dm. 

A servant girl of the king of T o - li〜 of the northern Yi^ was 
Avitli child. The king' wanted to kill her. The girl said by way 
of apology : ― "A vapour, big as an egg, descended from heaven, 
and made me enceinte." Afterwards, she was delivered of a child, 
which she threw away into a pig-stye. The pigs sniffed at it, but 
it did not perish. Then it was removed again to the horse stable, 
in order that the horses should kill it, but tlie horses also only 
sniffed at it, ami it did not die. The king thereupon imagined that 
the child would become a sovereign, and therefore ordered the 
mother to take it back , and had it nursed by his slaves. Tlie boy 
received the name of Tung Ming, He was employed as a slieplierd 
for cattle and horses. As he Avas an excellent archer, tlie king got 
afraid, that he might deprive liim of liis kingdom, and therefore 
wished to kill him. Tiing Miny Avent southward to the Yen-hu river, 
where witli liis bow lie shot fish and turtles in the water. They 
formed a floating bridge, enabling Tung Ming to cross. Then tlie 
fish and turtles separated again so, that the troops pursuing him 
could not follow. Subsequently he became king of Fu-yil. Among 
tlie northern Yi there is a kingdom of Fu-ya.^ 

When lung Ming s mother first became pregnant, she perceived 
a vapour descending from lieaven, and, when she threw tlie newly 
born away, pigs and horses sniffed at him. After lie had grown 
up, the king desired to kill him, but the fish and turtles, wliicli 
he liad shot, formed a floating bridge. Accordmg to Leaven's fate 
he was not to (lie, tlierefore lie 、vas saved from pigs and horses. 
As he was predestinated to become king of Fu-yU, tlie fish and 
turtles formed a bridge to help liim. 

When Yi Yin^ was about to be born, liis mother dreamt that 
she saw a inan, wlio said to lier: — " Water flows from the mortar, 
Forthuitli travel eastward." Tlie mother took note of this, and, 
on tlie next morning, found out that really water came out from 

1 A State in northern Corea , Ma-tuan-lin chap. 324, p. 14v., where our passage 
is quoted. 

2 Barbarous, non Chinese tribes in the east. 

3 In Liaotung, 

4 The chief minister of T'ang^ the founder of the Shamj dynasty 176(5 c.c. 
Many legends are current about his origin. 

5 111 ancient limes holes in the earth vvei*e used as mortars. 


Lull - HAng : B, Meta pliysirat. 

the mortar. 1 Slie went 10 Li eastward. When she looked back 
to lier native place, all was under water. Yi Yins destiny was not 
to be drowned, consequently liis mother had a dream, and went away. 

Tlie same principle holds good for tlie city of Li-yangr 
Those whose fate was like that of Yi Yin, were certainly roused 
beforeliand, and removed to another place before tlie catastrophe. 

When Duke lis tang of C/ii got into trouble, Duke Huau. the 
crown-prince, had to fight for his throne with Tse Chm,^ Kuan 
Chung assisted Tse Ckiu, Pao Slm^ stood by Duke II nan. Kuan 
Chung in a combat against duke Huan, shot at him with arrows, 
and hit liiin on tlie buckle of liis belt. Man is generally 7 feet 
high, 5 the belt clasps tlie waist, and the buckle attached to the 
belt covers only a spot less than an iucli wide. Its siuallness 
makes it difficult to be liit. Moreover, the pointed edge is curbed 
oil its polislied surface. All tlie arrows liitting the buckle are 
deflected. Yet Kua、i Chung just hit tlie buckle in the middle. The 
arrow struck against it, and then fell down without deviating into 
the llesli on either side. Duke Iluan s fate was wealth and honour, 
and a god helped lihu, so that the arroAV hitting his buckle did 
not hurt him. 

King Kiuig of Cltu^ had five sous: ― Tse Cliao, Tse Yil, Tse Kaiu 
Tse Hsi, and CIti Chi, who all were much liked by liiin. But 
having no son from his first wife, whom lie miglit make liis suc- 
cessor, lie sacrificed to the mountains and rivers, aucl invoked tlie 
decision of tlie gods. Together with his second wife Pa be buried 
a jade badge in the ancestral hall, ami bade liis five sons to enter 
after having' feasted, and make obeisance. Tlie later king K am) 
stepped over it, Tse Yil reaclied it witli liijs elbow, Tse Kan and 
Tse Hsi botli remained far from it. Chi Chi was carried in as a 
baby. With each prostration lie pressed on the top of the jade 
badge. When King Kmtg died, Tse Chao became King K' ang:' but 
liis son lost the kingdom. Tse Yii became King Ling,^ but was 

1 Namely the underground water. 

2 Cf. p. 136. 

:i III ()(S6 R.c. Duke Ihianr/ was assassinated by his nephew Wu Chih {(■Kun- 
clthi III, 8). Tse CItiu was a brother of Duke Ihmu, 

4 Kuan Chung and Pao Shu Ya were bosom-friends. At the recoinmandation 
of Pao Shu Ya, Kuan (7iupf/, later on, entered into the service ol' Duke Huan^ whom 
he had first opposed. 

The ancient Chinese loot was much smaller than ours. 
G .')89-558 B.C. 
7 558-543 n.r. 
539-527 B.C. 

Auspicious Portents. 


himself assassinated. Tse Kan reigned but ten odd days. Tse Hsi 
(lid not come into power, and even was afraid of being beheaded. 
All w ere exterminated and left no progeny. Clii Chi mounted the 
throne later, and continued tlie sacrifices of the house of Ch w, for 
such had been the presage.^ 

The duration of the reigus of these princes corresponded to 
the distance tliey kept from the jade badge, Avlien prostrating 
themselves. Tlie piece of jade 、vas in the earth, while the five 
sous, unaware of it, entered one by one, and bowed nearer or 
farther off. When tliey pressed (lo、vn tlie top of the jade orna- 
ment, they were, so to speak, induced by their spirits to kneel down. 

T u An a" of Cfn?i out of hatred destroyed the sons of 
( 'hao Tmi, After the death of C/tao So,'^ his ^^ ^fe had a posthumous 
child. When T u An Ku heard of it, he sought it in the Palace, 
The mother put it into lier pantaloons, aud swore the following 
oath: ― "Tlie whole C"ao family will be lost, if the cliild cries, it 
will not be so, if it does not utter a sound." While being searched 
for, it did not cry at all. Then its escape could be effected, and 
its life be saved. Ch eng Ying Ch i、、 carried it away, and concealed 
it on a mountaiu. During Duke Clung s time/ Han CI tile] i mentioned 
it to the duke, avIio together with Hem Chileh raised the orphan 
of Chao to liis former rank, so that he could continue the sacri- 
HciaL rites of his family under tlie name of Wen T^e, The orphan 
of Chao did not utter a sound, as though its mouth had been closed. 
Thus tlie elevation of Wen Tse was predetermined 1>y fate. 

The mother of Han Kao Tsu、 dame Liu, reposed ou the banks 
of a large lake. In a dream, slie met witli a spirit. At that time 
there Avas a tempest Avitli thunder and lightning. In the darkness a 
dragon appeared on high. The sou, of which she was delivered, had 
an excellent character, but was very fond of wine. He would buy 
wine on credit from Mrs. Wang and mother Wn. When he was drunk, 
he stopped, and lay doAvu to sleep. Mi's. Wang and mother Wu then 
always saw some miraculous signs about him. Whenever lie I'e- 

1 The Shi-chi chap. 40, p. 14 tells this story with nearly the same words, 
and has taken it from the Tso-chuan, Duke Ch'ao 13th year. Vid. Legge, Chinese 
( lassies Vol. V, p. 050, 1st col. and Chavannes, Mem. Historiques Vol. IV, p. 36 丁. 

- A minister of the State of Chin 597 b.c. 

3 Also a minister of Chin and rival of T'u An Ku, 

1 Likewise slain by '广 u An Ku. 

3 Chao So, s widow, being a daughter of the ducal house of Chin, had sought 
refuge in the palace. 

G A faithful adherent of Chao So. 
■ 598-579 B.C. 

Lun - Hcng. 12 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

mained to drink wine, the price of the wine then sold was many 
times as much as usual. 

Later on he walked into the lake, and cut a big snake into 
pieces with his liaud. An old woman filled the roads with her 
wails, crying that the Red Emperor had killed her son. This 
miracle being very striking was much talked about, 

CI I in S/iilt Huang Ti used to say that in the south-east there 
was the spirit of a son of heaven. Therefore he travelled east- 
Avard in oi'dei' to suppress it. This Avas Kao Tsus spirit. Together 
AA'ith Lii Hon lie concealed himself amidst tlie marshes in the Mang 
and T ang Mountains.^ When Lit Hon witli other people went in 
search for him, tliey ahvays saw a vapour rising in a straight Hue 
above liim, ami thus discovered where he was. 

Later on Kao Tsu agreed with Hsiang Yii tliat whoever first 
entered tlie gates of C/i'in, sliould be king. Kao Tsu arrived first, 
wliicli was deeply resented by Hsiang Yii. Fan T' sing ^ said : ― 
" I pray to look at liis vapours. They all take the shape of a 
dragon, and have five colours : ― tliey are those of the sou of heaven. 
He must be despatched fortlnvitli." 

When Kao Tsu went to thank Hsiang Yii, the latter and Ya 
Fit ^ hatched a plot to kill him. At tlieir instigation Hsiang CItuany 
performed a dance with a drawn sword. Hsiang Po, who kne、v 
tlieir intentions, began to dance together with Hsiang Chuang, and 
no sooner was tlie sword raised over Kao Tms head, than Hsiang 
Po covered him with his own body so, that tlie sword did not 
fall, and the murderous plot Avas not carried out.^ At one time. 
Kao Tm was rescued by Chmig Liang and Fan K'uai,"' and after 
all got off unhurt. Thereupon lie swayed tlie whole empire. 

When his motlier conceived him, tlie spirit of a dragon made 
its appearance. When lie grew up, peculiar clouds were seen about 
the wine shop. During the night, he killed a snake, and the 
snake's old mother lamented, and cried. Cli in SIdh Huang Ti and 
Lii Hou saw an aureole above liim. Hsiang Yii planned liis assassina- 
tion, but Hsiang Po protected liim, and the scheme fell through. 

1 Cf. tlie detailed account given in Chap. XVII. 

2 The Mang Mountains were situated in H"nan, the T'ang Mountains in K(mm. 
:i These myths about tlic first emperor of the Han dynasty are related in 

almost the same words in the Shi-chi chap. 8, p. Iv. 

* Tlie famous counsellor of Kao Tm's rival, / Isiariff 1 ii, 

& The title of Fan T'seng. 

c The story in told iiiorr in detail in the Shi-chi chap. 7, p. 14v. 

' Partisans of Kao Tsti, whose success is to a groat extent due to their efforts. 

Auspicious Portents. 


He found such lielpmates as Chang Liang and Fan K'uai. For 
there being signs pointing to his future wealth and honour, all 
things obeyed liim, and men lent liim their hel]) and support. 

A younger brother of the Empress Dowager 7)"/,i of the 
name of Kuang Kuo, was, at the ag'e of 4 or 5 years, i'ol)bed from 
his poor family, and sold, his people not knowing liis whereabouts. 
More than ten times lie was sold again to other families, till he 
came to l-yangr- There lie went on tlie hills for liis master to 
make charcoal : ― AVhen it grew cold at night, over a hundred 
people lay down under the coal. The coal collapsed, and all were 
crushed to death, save Kuaug Kuo, who managed to escape. He 
then divined liiinself, and ascertained that, after a certain number 
of days, he would be made a marquis. He left his home, and 
betook liimself to Chany-an.'^ There lie learned tliat the Empress Tou 
had lately settled her family at Kuan-chin in Ch htg - ho. He reported 
himself to the emperor. The Empress Dowager prevailed upon Cldug 
Ti to grant liim an audience. What he replied to tlie questions 
about his origin proved true, and tlie emperor made him rich 
l>resciits. At the accession of Wen Ti,^ Kuang Kuo was created a 
marquis of CJumg Wu. When the coal heaps came down, more 
than a hundred people Avere killed, only Kuang Kuo escaped. Being- 
preserved by fate for wealth and honour, he did not only keep 
alive, but was made a marquis to boot. 

Yii Tse Ta、 a native of Tung Kuan in CJi en-liu^ came into the 
world at night. His mother behold something like a skein of silk 
over him, which went up to heaven. She asked otlier people's advice 
a bout it. All were agreed that it was an auspicious fluid foreboding* 
liouour, Avliicli reached up tolieaven. Yil Tse Ta, when grown up, became 
ail official, and was promoted to the rank of Minister of Education. 

Knang Wen I)oi from P u-fan ^ in Ho-tiing^^ was likewise bom 
about midnight. At that time some one called his father's name 

1 The wife of the emperor Wen Ti, 179-156 b.c, and the mother of Chinff 
Ti, 156-140. 

2 A district in Honanfu. 

3 The capital under the former Han dynasty. 

4 CKing-ho, a State in Honan, the present prefecture of R'ai-frnff-fu, of 
which Kuan-chin formed a district. 

5 Probably a misprint for Wu Ti: for Wu Ti, not Wen Ti succeeded Chimj Ti. 
** In ICai-fmg-fu {Honan), 

7 The T'ai'p'ing-yii-lan quoting this passage writes T\ing Wctz Po. Nothing 
more is to be learned about this person from the cyclopedias. 

8 The modern P'u-chou in Sharm, 

9 Literally : — the country east of the (Yellow) River. 



Lun -Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

from without doors. The father went out, and replied, but nobody 
was to be seen, only a big wooden stick was planted next to the 
door. He understood well that it was different from common ones. 
The father took the stick into 】iis house, and showed it to some- 
body, who prognosticated tlie future from it, saying: ― "A lucky 
omen, indeed. When Kuang Wen Po is grown up, lie will study, 
and ill his official career be appointed prefect of Kuang-han?" Kuang 
Wm Fo was to be wealthy and honoured, therefore his father was 
presented with the stick. The diviner, as it were, implied that the 
stick represented the strength of the child. 

On the day Chia-tse~ in the twelfth inoou of the first year 
Chien-p iug,^ when the Emperor Kiumg Wii Ti saw the light in the 
second hall of the seraglio in the rear of the Chi-yang palace,^ 
his father was magistrate of Chi-yang, ^ During the night this room 
was lighted of itself without there being any fire. His father 
summoned the secretary Cliung Lcm, and despatched him to consult 
a fortune-teller. For that purpose Cliung Lan, accompanied by the 
groom Su Yung, Avent to Wang CIt ang Siuis place. Wang Ch aug Sun 
said to the two: ― "That is a lucky thing, I cannot say more." 
That same year a blade of grain grew among liouse-leek and wall- 
pepper. It had three roots, one stalk, and nine ears, and was by 
one to two feet higher than a common one, it being an auspicious 

At the beginning of Yuan Ti ' reign a phenix alighted on 
tlie Chi-yang kimg. Hence there exists still to-day in the Chi-yang 
palace a phenix cottage. Yuan Ti together with Li Fu and others 
travelled into the region of Ch aL^ On the road they fell in with 
insurgents, and greatly alarmed, fled to the old cottage of Chi-yang. 
When tliey arrived, they beheld a red glare like fire just south 
from the road leading to the old cottage. A stream of light went 
up to heaven, and after a moment was gone. 

1 An ancient name of the region about CKemj-tu and r'ung-cKuan in Sse-chuan. 
'2 The first number of the sexagenary rycle. 

3 (5 2 B.C. 

4 Tlii.s palace, once used by the Emperor Ihtn Wu Ti as a travelling lodge, 
had been closed. Kuang Wu Ti,s father finding his yaincn too wet to live in, had 
moved into the old palace, and installed himsdf in the halls at the back. 

r' Tlie modem T'mo-chm-ju in Shuntanfj, 

r' Cr. ai-piny-yU'lan {Kaang Wu Ti) where the Tung-kwm llan-chi is quoted, 
7 Han Yu<m Ti 48-32 b.c. The Tung-kuaii llan-chi relates that the phenix 
came down at the l)irth of Kunng Wn Ti, 6 b.c. 

^ An old name of T ai-an-hsien \n Shantany. 

Aus[)irious Portents. 


At Wcwff Maugs time, the Lord Marshal Su Po A could dis- 
tinguish the currents of air. AVhen, on an embassy, he passed 
through the suburb of Cliiiang-ling^^ he foiiucl the air very bri^k 
and fresh. Kuang Wu Ti came to Ho-pii"^ Avliere he liad an inter- 
view with Sfi Po A. lie put to him the question: —" I low did yoii 
know tliat a lucky wind was blowing, minister, when you passed 
CIitiany'UugT' ― " Ouly because I saw the air brisk and fresh was 
Sh' Po A s reply. 

Ergo, when by Heaven's decree a new man is to rise, and a 
Avise emperor to come forth, the manifestations of the original fluid 
before and after can clearly be made out. 3 But, when there is 
only a succession of power, and a continuation of former institu- 
tions, insomuch as the latter serve as a basis, then the manifesta- 
tions of the heavenly fluid are not worth mentioning,^ When there 
is a complete revolution, and a new dragon rises, he starts from 
very small beginnings, and passes first through all sorts of calamities, 
as in the case of Han Kao Tsu and Kuang Wit Ti; Were tliey not 
ushered in witli wonderful signs from heaven, men, and spirits, and 
great splendour? 

1 A city in lioncm. 

2 Under the Han a district " north of the Yellow River," corresponding to 
the modern PHng-lu-hsien in ShansL 

3 In case of a great political revolution. 

4 In case of regular succession, the son following the father. 
3 Both founders of new dynasties. 


Lnii - Ilontr: B. Metapliysical. 

On Divination {Pu-shih). 

The world believes in divination with shells and weeds. The 
first class of diviners question Heaven, they say: tlie second, Earth. 
Milfoil has something spiritual, tortoises are divine, and omens and 
signs respond, when asked. Therefore tliey disregard the advice 
of their friends, and take to divination, they neglect what is right 
and wrong, and trust solely to lucky and unlucky portents, lu 
their belief, Heaven and Earth n^ally ujake their wishes known, 
and weeds and tortoises verily possess spiritual powers. 

As a matter of fact, diviners do not ask Heaven and Earth, 
nor have weeds or tortoises spiritual qualities. That tliey liave, 
and that Heaven and Earth are being interrogated, is an idea of' 
common scholars. How can we prove that? 

Tse Lu asked Confucius saying, " A pig's shoulder and a sheep's 
leg can serve as omens, and from creepers, rushes, straws, and 
duckweed we can foreknow destiny. Wliat need is tliere tlieu for 
milfoil and tortoises? " 

' That is not correct," said Confticlus, ' for their names are es- 
sential. The mil foil's name means old, and the tortoise's, agecl.i 
In order to elucidate doubtful things, one must ask the old ami 
the aged/ 

According to tins re])ly. milfoil is not spiritual, and the tortoise 
is not divine. From tlie fact that importance is attached to tlieir 
names, it does not follow that they really possess siicli qualities. 
Since tliey do not possess those qualities, 、ve know that tliey are 
not gifted with supernatural powers, and, as tliey do not possess 
these, it is plain that II(、av(、n and Earth (ran not l)e asked through 
their medium. 

Moreover, where ai'(、 tl"、 inoullis ami the ears of Heaven and 
Ivi rill, that llioy may qii(、stiom、d? Heaven ol)eys the same laws 

I A gratuitous etymology, of wliidi the Chinese are very fond. Shih 省- 
= milfoil and kuei jj^ tortoise have nothing whatever to do with cKi ― old 
and kin — : aged. 

On Divination. 


as mail. To for in a conception of Heaven, we must start from liuniaii 
aflairs. When we ask anybody, we cannot learti his opinion, unless 
■\ve see him ourselves before us, and personally address liim. If we 
wish to ask Heaven, TIeaA'en is high, and its ears are far a、、'a.y 
iVoin us. Provided that Heaven lias no ears, it is incorporeal, and 
being incorporeal, it is air. How coukl air like clouds and fog 
speak to us? 

By milfoil tliey ask the Earth. Eartli has a body like man, 
hut, as its ears are not near us, it cannot hear us, and not liear- 
ing us, its mouth does not speak to us. In tine, if they speak 
of questioning I leaven, Heaven being air cannot send omens, and, 
if they address tlieinselves to Eartli, the ears of Earth are far, and 
cannot hear us. What reliable proofs are there for the assertion 
that Heaven and Eartli speak to man? 

We are living between Heaven and Earth, as lice do on the 
liuman body. If those lice, desirous of learning man's opinion, were 
emitting- sounds near his ear, lie would not liear them. Why? 
Because tliere is such au enormous difference of size, that their 
utterances Avould remain inaudible. Now, let us suppose that a 
pigmy like a man puts questions to Heaven and Eartli, which are 
so immense; liow could tliey iindcrstaud his words, and liow become 
acquainted with liis wishes ? 

Some maintain that man carries the fluid of Heaven and Eartli 
in his bosom. This fluid in the body is the mind, I daresay. When 
man is going to divine by weeds and shells, he puts questions to 
the milfoil and the tortoise. The replies which lie hears \\ ith his 
ears, his mind regards like its own tliouglits. From the depth of 
the bosom and tlie stomach the mind hears the explanation. Thus, 
when the tortoise is cut to pieces i and the divining stalks grasped, 
omens and signs appear. Man thinks with liis mind, but when in 
liis thoughts he cannot arrive at a decision, he consults the milfoil 
and the tortoise. In case theii* omens and signs liarmoiiize with 
the thoughts, the miiul may be said to have been a good adviser. 

Yet it liappens that tlie lieart regards something as feasable, 
but tlie omens and signs are inauspicious, or these are felicitous, 
but the heart considers them as unlui;ky. Now, the tliouglits are 
one's own spirit, and that which causes the omens and signs is 
also one's spirit. In the bosom, the spirit of a body becomes the 
mental power, and outside the bosom, omens and signs. It is, as 

' From Chunng Tse chap. 26, p. 4v. it appears that for divining purposes the 
tortoise shell used to be cut iiito 72 pieces or diviuing slips. 


Lull - 1 long : K. Mctapliysicnl. 

if a man enters a house, and sits down, or goes out through the 
door. The walking and sitting makes no difference in his ideas, 
and entering or issuing does not change his feelings. Provided that 
the miiid produces omens and signs, tliey would not be opposed 
to mail's thon gilts. 

Heaven and Earth liave a body, therefore tliey can move. In 
so far as they can move, tliey are like living beings, and being 
alive, tliey resemble man. To ask a living man, we must use a 
living person, then w e can be sure of a I'e 丄) ly. Should we employ 
a dead man for this purpose, we would certainly not obtain an 
answer. Now, Heaven and Earth are botli alive, and milfoil and 
tortoises are dead. Hoax could wc elicit a reply by asking the 
living tlirouo-li the dead ? The shell of a dried tortoise and the 
stalk of a withered weed are . supposed to question living Heaven 
and Earth ! Ergo the common assertion that Heaven and Earth 
respond is quite erroneous. 

If milfoil and tortoises be like tablets, omens and signs would 
represent tlie written ciiaracters tliereoii, and resemble tlie instruc- 
tions emanating from a prince. But where would be the mouths 
and the ears of Heaven and Earth, that sucli instructions might 
be possible? " How can Heaven speak? " said Confucius. "The four 
seasons roll on, and tlie various things are produced." ' 

Heaven does not speak, nor does it hear what men say. 
Heaven's nature is said to be spontaneity and non-interference. Now, 
if people question Heaven and Earth, and they respond, this re- 
sponse would require that interference be coupled with spontaneity. 

According to tlie text of the I-king, the art of grasping the 
straws consists in sorting them into two parcels to resemble Heaven 
and Earth, in grasping tliein by fours in imitation of tlie^ four 
seasons, and in returning tlie superfluous straws as an emblem of 
ail intercalary month. ^ These resemblances are marked with tlie 
object of forming the necessary number of diagrams, and not a 
word is said about Heaven and Eartli conjointly replying to man. 
It is usual among men to answer, when asked, and not to reply, 
unless there be any question. Should anybody knock at otliev 
|)eo])le's door witliout any reason, not wisliing anything, or make 
a useless discourse in their presence, without asking their opinion, 
the master of tlic house would laugh, but not reply, or he would 
become angry, and not give an answer. Now, let a diviner per- 

> Analecf,.i XVII. 19. 

- 1 'i-kinij, ( 'hi-t'se I {Legges traiisl. p. 31);")). 

On Divination. 


forate a tortoise shell in slieer play, or sort the milfoil lor nothing, 
and thus mock Heaven and Earth, he would obtain omens and 
signs all the same. Would Heaven and Earth then reply indis- 
criminately? Or let a man revile Heaven, wliile divining hy shells, 
or beat the Eartli, while dm、viiig the 】ots, wliich is t\w height of 
impiety, lie would obtain omens and signs nevertheless. If omens 
and signs are the spirit of Heaven and Earth, wliy do tliey not 
extinguish tlie fire of the diviner, * burn his hand, shake his fingers, 
disturb his signs, strike his body Avitli painful diseases, and cause 
his blood to freeze and to boil, instead of still showing him omens 
and sending signs? Do Heaven and Eartli not fear the bother, and 
not disdain to take this trouble? Looking at the problem from this 
point of view it becomes plain to us that the diviners do not ask 
Heaveu and Eartli, and that omens and signs are not the replies 
of tlie latter. 

Besides, those who divine are sure to be either lucky or un- 
lucky. Some are of opinion that good and bad luck correspond 
to the good and tlie bad actions of mankind. Thus bliss aud 
felicity would accompany goodness, and calamitous changes follow 
in the rear of badness. Good or bad government is the result of 
goodness or badness, but I doubt that Heaven aud Earth purposely 
reply, wlieii questioned by diviners. When a lucky man cuts up 
a tortoise, lie finds auspicious omens, wliereas an unlucky one, 
grasping the milfoil, obtains contrary signs. This will be shown by 
the following examples. 

C/toti was tlie worst of rulers: during his reign there " as an 
abundance of calamitous events. Seventy times the tortoise was 
consulted, and the replies were always unlucky. Therefore Tsu Yi^ 
said, "Excellent in en and tlie great tortoise dare not know any- 
thing about happiness. The wortliy are not called to office, and 
tlie large tortoise does not give good oineus. A catastrophe is 

When King IT^^ of Chou received tlie heavenly appointment, 
aud Kao Tsu ascended the dragon throne, Heaven and men con- 
jointly lent them their aid, and there were great numbers of wonders 
and miracles. The sons of Feng and P ei 、 divined by shells, and 

1 Which he uses in burning the tortoise shell. 

2 The minister of Chou. 

3 Cf. Shu-king, Hsi po ¥nn Li and Shi-chi chap. 8 (JJhavannes, Mem. Hist. 
Vol. I, p. 204). 

4 The countrymen of Kao 'I'm, who was born in Frng, in the sub-prefecture 
of P^ei in Kiangsu, 


Lull - Hong: R. INletapliysiral. 

they likewise received propitious replies. Tlie omens 、vl'iich a lucky 
man attracts by his personality are invariably good, whereas 
those brought about by the doings of an unlucky person are 
always bad. 

When S/iih T ai ' of Wei died, lie had no rightful heir, but 
six illegitimate sons. They divined, who would be the successor, 
and made out that bathing and the wearing of gems would afford 
an omen. Five of tlie sons took a bath, and adorned themselves 
Avitli precious stones, but Shili CIi I Tse^ said, " Who, being in mourn- 
ing for a parent, can bathe and wear gems?" Hence he did not 
batlie, nor wear any gems. It was lie wlio hit tlie omen. The men 
of Wei divining confided in the wisdom of tlie tortoise, 4 but it did 
not possess any wisdom, the wise one was Shih ChU Tse liiinself. 
He governed liis State well, and what lie said was excellent, hence 
the felicitous auguries. Had no recourse been taken to divination 
at that time, and the people alone be consulted, tliey would never- 
theless liave declared in his favour. Why? Because the heart and 
its feelings are nothing else than luck and mishap. If this be true, 
it disposes of tlie truth of divination. While the shells are being 
cut in pieces, and tlie straws sorted, omens and signs take place 
spontaneously, and while tliey appear, happiness and misfortune 
1 lap pen of their own accord, and the lucky as well as the unlucky 
fall in with them by chance. 

Tlie lucky meet with good omens, whereas the unlucky en- 
counter bad signs. Thus wherever the lucky pass, things are 
pleasant to tliem, and wherever tliey look, they behold felicitous 
objects. Yet those pleasant things and felicitous objects are not 
special auguries for the lucky. In a similar manner the unlucky 
encounter all sorts of hardships on their way. These good and 
bad things are not the response of Heaven, it is by chance tliat 
they fall to tlie lot of the good and the bad. The lucky and un- 
lucky omens obtained by cutting the tortoise and drawing the 
milfoil are like the happiness and the unhappiness Avliicli we ex- 
perience. This much we gather from the Ibllowing instances. 

When King Wu of Chou was (lo、vn-spirih'd, the Duke of 
Clio II consulted three tortoises, and said that he would meet with 

' Tlie Li-ki writes Shih T'ai ( 'hung. 
- From his roiicubincs. 

•* A feudal lord in Wei, mentioned in tlic Tso-chuan, Duko ( 'liwmg 12th year 
I B.f.), as iiifluciiciiig tlio policy of his native State. 

' So far the story Is culled troiii the Li-ki, T an Kttiig 11 ( Legge, Sacred Book's 
Vol. XXVII, p. 181). 

Oil r)i\'iiiMtioii. 


success. I When the minister of Z/n、 CI many Shu, 乜 had got a son, J/" 
Shu,^ he dreAv the lots with the help of the Yi-king and encountered the 
86th diagram/ which became the 15tli.^ In regard to the divination 
with shells the term to meet^ is used, and the expression to encounter 
is applied to the drawing of straws. Thus, as a matter of fact, 
tlie replies were obtained by mere chance, and were not the out- 
come of goodness or badness. 

Tlie good meet with happiness, and the wicked encounter mis- 
fortune. The law of Heaven is spontaneity, it does nothing for 
the salio of man. The happiness attending the government of a 
ruler must be judged by the same principle. When a prince chances 
to be virtuous, it just so happens that there is peace aud joy, and 
that many wonderful and auspicious things appear. Contrariwise, 
when there happens to be a degenerate ruler, all this is reversed. 

There are many people discoursing on divination, but very 
few wlio understand its real meaning. Some liold that divination 
must not be practised by itself, but that circumstances are to be 
taken into account. The tortoise being cut, and tlie milfoil grasped, 
omens and signs appear. Seeing unusual signs, the diviners resort 
to their imagination: auspicious omens they explain as disastrous, 
and unlucky signs as auspicious. If in such a case luck and mis- 
hap do not become manifest, people say that divination is not to 
be trusted. 

When King Wu of C'hoii destroyed Choa^' the interpreters put 
a bad construction upon the omens, and spoke of a great calamity. 
T ai Kung lluDg the sta】ks away, and trampled upon the tortoise 
saying, " Ho、v can dried bones and dead herbs know fate?" 

In case the omens aud signs obtained by divination do not 
correspond to happiness and misfortune, there must have been a 

1 The Duke of Chou had built three altars to his three ancestors, whom lie 
consulted on the fate of his sick brother Wu Wang, He probably had one tortoise 
for each altar. (Cf. Shi-chi chap. 33, p. Iv. and p. 205.) 

2 Shu Sun Chucmg Shu or Shu Sun Tr dini. When he died in 603 b.c, he 
received the posthumous name Ckuang. 

3 The same as Shu Sun Mu Tse mentioned in Chap. XVII. His clan name 
was Shu Sun, Mu being his posthumous title. 

4 The diagram Ming-i, 

" The diagram CKien, Wang CKung here quotes a passage from the Tso- 
dman、 Duke Cliao 5th year {Legge Vol. V, Pt. 11, p. 604) where the expression 
" encountered " is used. 

c 逢 . 

7 The last emperor of the Shang dynasty, Choa Hsin 


Lun -Heng: B. iNIetapliy.sical. 

mistake. When the soothsayers are unable to ascertain fate, it is 
thrown into confusion, and owing to this confusion T ai Kung dis- 
paraged divination. 

Divination by shells and stalks bears a resemblance to the 
administration of a Avise einj)eroi\ and the omens of divination are 
like the auspicious portents during the reign of such an emperor. 
These portents are unusual, and the omens are extraordinary and 
marvellous. It is for tins reason that the diviners fall into error, 
and it is the unusual wliicli blindfolds the emperor's advisers to 
sucli a degree, that in tlieir blindness they declare a peaceful govern- 
ment to be mismanaged, and in tlieir error call bad what is auspi- 
cious. Lucky omens a lucky man can fall in with, and, when 
during a reign auspicious portents are met with, it is a manifestation 
of the virtue of a vrise ruler. Wlieu the King of Clion destroyed 
Chou, he encountered the omens of a bird and a fish, why did his 
diviuers regard these as unlucky omens? Had King Wus elevation 
not been predestinated, lie ought not to have met with portents, 
when going out. Provided that it was Wu Wang's fate to rise, the 
diviners should not have thought it inauspicious. Thus, since the 
divination for King Wu could not be unlucky, but was declared to 
be so, this interpretation was erroneous. 

When Iai was going to attack Yueh, tlie diviners by milfoil 
gave their verdict to the effect that the tripod bad broken its leg. 
Tse Kung explained this as evil. Wliy ? Because the tripod had its 
leg broken, and for moving on one uses the legs. Consequently 
lie considered it unlucky. Confucius, on tlie other hand, explained 
it as lucky, saying, "The people of Yiieh are living on the water; 
to reach them one requires boats, not legs." Therefore lie called 
it lucky. Iai invaded Yfteh, and in fact defeated it. 

T^-e Kung explained the breaking of tlie leg of the tripod as 
evil, just as the interpretation of the diviners of Chou was adverse. 
But in spite of this adverse comment there was certainly luck, and 
in ac(^ordance with the right explanation of the brokon leg Yileh 
could be invaded. In Chou there were in any persons who could 
give a straightforward interpretation like Tse Kung, but very few 
gifted with the same subtle reasoning 】)ower as Confucius, Conse- 
quently, upon viewing an unusual omeu, they were unable to catch 
tlie meaning. 

Because Wu Warn/ hm I no fault, wlien the divining took 
place, and nevertheless got a bad omen, people think that divi- 
nation must not be practisiul by itself, ami is but of little service 
in government. But it serves to show that there are spiritual 

On Divination. 


powers, and that a plan is not in(M'ely the i)i'o(lucti(m ol' some- 
body's brain. ^ 

Writers and clironiclers have collected all isorts of oveuts, as 
llan Fei Tse for instance, who in his chapter on tlie embellislinuMit 
of false doctrines 2 examines the proofs of those manifestations. 
There he depreciates divination by shells, stigmatises that by weeds, 
aiul condemns the common belief in their usefulness. As a matter 
of fact, divination can be made use of, yet it happens that the 
diviners are mistaken in tlieir interpretations. In the chapter Hkikj- 
fan we read concerning" the investigation of doubts that, as regards 
exceptional portents explained by divination, the son of lieaven must 
be asked, but that sometimes the ministers and officials are also 
able to oiler a solution.'^ Owing to this inability to give a correct 
explanation, omens and signs often do not prove true, hence the 
distrust in the usefulness of divination. 

Duke M en of Chin was at war with tlie viscount of Cli u. lie 
dreamt that he was wrestling witli King Cli my,^ who gained the 
upper liaucl, and sucked liis brains. Tliis was interpreted as in- 
auspicious, but Chin Fan ^ said, " It is lucky. Your Highness could 
look up to lieaven, while Ch u was bending clown under the weight 
of his guilt. Sucking your brains means softening and craving for 
mercy."" The battle was fouglit, and Chin was in fact victorious, 
as Chin Fan had prognosticated. 

Tlie interpretation of dreams is like the explanation of tlie 
signs of the tortoise. The oiieirocritics of Chin did not see the 
purport of the visions, as the diviners of Ch(fti did not imderstand 
the nature of the omens of the tortoise-shell. Visions are perfectly 
true, and omens perfectly correct, but liuman knowledge is un- 
sufficient, and tlie reasoning therefore not to tlie point. 

There is still another report, according to which King 11", wlien 
attacking Cliou, consulted the tortoise, but tlie tortoise was de- 
formed.' The diviners regarded this as very unpropitious, but T ai 

1 Those in power win the people over to their views by showing that the 
omens are favourable, and that the spirits causing them give their approval. 

2 Chapter XIX of Han Fei Tse's work. 

3 Cf. Shu-king, Hung-fan, Pt. V, Bk. IV, 20 {Legge Vol. Ill, Pt. II, p. 3:U). 
^ The viscount of CKu, who styled himself king. 

5 The Tso-chuan calls him Tse Fan, 

('' Quotation from the Tso-chuan, Duke Hd 28th year (631 B.C.). 

" I surmise from the context that the character ^ 遣 must denote some 
deformity of the tortoise. Kang-hi says in the appendix that the meaning is 


Lnn-Hpiig: B. Metaphysical. 

Kimg said, " The deformation of the tortoise means bad luck for 
sacrifices, but victory in war." King Wu followed his advice, arid 
at length destroyed Chou. If this be really so, tliis story is like 
the utterances of Confucius on the diagrams, and Cldn Fan's inter- 
pretation of the dream. Omens and signs are true by any inoans, 
if good and bad fortunes do not happen as predicted, it is the 
fault of the diviners who do not uuderstaud their business. 

On Death. 


On Death {Lun-sse). 

People say that the dead become ghosts, are conscious, and 
can hurt men. Let us examine this by comparing men witli other 
beings: ― 

The (lead do not become ghosts, have no consciousness, and 
cannot injure others. How do we know this? We kuow it from 
other beings. Man is a being, and other creatures are likewise 
beings. When a creature dies, it does not become a ghost, for 
A\ hat reason then must man alone become a ghost, when he ex- 
pires? In this world you can separate man from other creatures, 
but not on the ground that he becomes a gliost. The faculty to 
become a gliost cannot be a distinctive mark. If, on the other 
hand, there is no difference between man and other creatures, we 
have no reason either to suppose that man may become a gliost. 

Man lives by the vital fluid. When he dies, this vital fluid 
is exhausted. It resides in the arteries. At death the pulse stops, 
aud tlie vital fluid ceases to work; tlien the body decays, and 
turns into earth and clay. By wliat could it become a ghost? 

Without ears or eyes men liave no perceptions. In this 
respect the deaf aud tlie blind resemble plants aud trees. But are 
men, wliose vital fluid is gone, merely as if they had no eyes, or 
no ears? No. their decay means complete dissolution. 

That which is diffuse and invisible, is called a gliost, or a 
spirit. When people perceive the shape of a ghost or a spirit, it 
cannot be the vital fluid of a dead man, because ghost and spirit 
are only designations for something diffuse and invisible. When a 
man dies, his spirit ascends to heaven, and his bones return to 
the earth, therefore tliey are called Kwei (ghost) i which means " to 
return." 2 A spirit (Shen) is something diffuse and shapeless. 

Some say that ghost aud spirit are names of activity and 
passivity". The passive principle opposes tilings and returns, hence 
its name Kuei (gliost). Tlie active principle fosters aud produces 



Lun - Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

things, and therefore is called Slim (spirit),^ which means " to ex- 
tend." This is re-iterated without end. When it finishes, it be- 
gins again. 

Man lives by the spiritual fluid. When lie dies, lie again 
returns this spiritual fluid. Activity and passivity are spoken of 
as spirit and ghost. When man dies, one speaks likewise of his 
spirit and liis gliost. 

The fluid becomes man, just as water turns into ice. The 
water crystallises to ice, and tlie fluid coagulates, and forms man. 
The ice melting becomes water, and man dying becomes spirit 
again. It is called spirit, just as molten ice resumes tlie name 
water. When we have a man before us, we use another name. 
Hence tliere are no proofs for the assertion that the dead possess 
knowledge, or tliat they can take a form, and injure people. 

When men see ghosts, they appear like living men. Just 
from tlie fact that tliey have the shape of living men we cau infer 
that tliey cannot be the essence of the dead, as will be seen Irom 
the following: ― 

Fill a bag with rice, and a sack witli millet. The rice in 
the bag is like the millet in the sack. Full, they look strong, 
stand upright, and can be seen. Looking at them from afar, people 
know tliat they are a bag of rice, and a sack of millet, because 
their forms correspond to their contents, and thus become per- 
ceptible. If the bag has a liole, tlie rice runs out, and if the sack 
is damaged, the millet is spilt. Then the bag and the sack col- 
lapse, and are no more visible, when looked at iVom afar. 

Man's vital fluid resides in the body, as the millet and the 
rice do in the bag and the sack. At death tlie body decays, and 
the vital fluid disperses, just as tlie millet and tlie rice escape from 
the pierced or damaged bag, or sack. When the millet or the rice 
are gone, the bag and tlie sack do not take a form again. How 
then could there bo a visible body again, after the vital fluid has 
been scattered and lost? 

When animals die, their flesh decomposes, but their skin and 
their liair still reiuain, and can be worked into a fur, which ap- 
pears still to liave the si i ape of an animal. Tlm'd'ore dog thieves 
will don dog skins. 山 > then do not discover them, becaus(、 

disguised in a dog's fur-skin, tliey do not rouse any suspicion. 

Now, when a man (l"、s, liis skin and liair are destroyed. 
Provided thut liis vital force did still exist, liovv could the spirit 


2 仲 

Oil Death. 


again enter the same body, and become visible? The dead cannot 
borrow the body of a living man to re-appear, neither can the 
living borrow tlie soul of tlie dead to disappear. 

The Six Animals ' can only be transformed into a liuinan 
sliaj)e as long as their bodies and their vital fluid are still un- 
impaired. When they die, their bodies putrefy, and even, if they 
possess the courage and tlie audacity of a tiger or a rhinoceros, 
tliey can no more be metamorpliosed. Niu Ai, duke of Lu - during 
an illness could - be traiisrorined into a tiger, because he 、vas not 
yet dead. It happens that a living body is transformed into 
anotlier living body, but not that a dead body is changed into a 
living oue. 

From the time, wlieu heaven and earth were set in order, 
and the reign of tlie " Human Emperors":"* downward people died 
at tlieir allotted time. Of those, 、、- 1.10 expired in their middle age, 
or quite young, millions and millions might be counted. The 
number of the persons actually living would be less than that of 
those who died. If we suppose that after death a man becomes 
a ghost, there would be a ghost ou every road, and at every 
step. Should men appear as gliosts after death, then tens of 
thousands of gliosts ought to be seeu . They would fill the halls, 
throng tlie courts, and block the streets and alleys, instead of tlie 
one or two which are occasionally met with. 

When a man lias died on a battle-field, they say that his 
blood becomes a will-o'-the-wisp. The blood is tlie vital force of 
the living. The will-o'-the-wisp seen by people, 、、-11116 walking at 
night, has no human form, it is desultory aud concentrated like 
a light. Though being the blood of" a dead man, it does not re- 
semble a liuman shape iu form, how then could a man, whose 
vital force is gone, still appear with a liuuian body? 

If the gliosts seen all looked like dead men, there might be 
some doubt left that the dead become gliosts, and sometimes even 
assume human form. 

' The Six Domestic Animals are : ― the horse, the ox, the goat, the pig, tlie 
dog, and the fowl. 

2 Cf. Chap. XXVII. 

3 A series of mythical rulers of remotest antiquity. 

Lull - Ili'ng. 13 


Lun - Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

.Sick people see ghosts, and say that So-and-So has come to 
them. At that time So-and-So was not yet (load, but the fluid 
perceived resembled liim. If the dead become ghosts, how is it 
that sick people see tlie bodies of the living? 

The nature of heaven and earth is such, that a new fire caa 
be lighted, but an extinguished fire cannot be set ablaze again. A 
new man can be born, but a dead one cannot be resurrected. If 
burnt-out ashes could be kindled again into a blazing fire, 1 would 
be very much of opinion that tlie dead might take a bodily form 
again. Since, however, an extinguished fire cannot burn again, 、ve 
are led to the conclusion tliat the dead caiiuot become ghosts. 

Ghosts are considered to be the vital spirits of* the dead. It" 
this were really tlic case, people seeing ghosts ought to see their 
bodies naked only, but not wearing dresses, or covered with gar- 
ments, because garments have uo vital spirits. When men die, 
their clothes become decomposed together with their bodies, liow 
could they be put on again ? 

The vital spirits liave tlieir original seat iu tlie blood lluid, 
and this fluid always adlieres to tlie body. If" notwithstanding the 
decay of tlie body the vital spirits were still extant, tliey might 
become ghosts. Now garments are made of silk stuffs and other 
fabrics. During man's life-titne his blood fluid does not permeate 
them, nor liave tliey any blood of tlieir own. When the body is 
destroyed, they share its fate, liow could tliey of themselves re- 
assume the shape of garments. Consequently, if ghosts are seen 
M'liicli bear a resemblance to drosses, they must also be like bodies, 
and if tliey are, we know that they cannot be the vital spirits ol' 
tlie dead. 

Since the dead cannot become ghosts, they cannot have any 
consciousness either. We infer this from tlie fact that before tlieir 
birth men have no consciousness. Before tliey are born, they form 
part of the, primogenial fluid, and 、v]i('ii they die, they revert to 
it. This |)riiuoi;eiiial fluid is vague and ditt'use, and tlie liiiinaii 
lluid, a j)art of it. Anterior to his birth, man is devoid of con- 
sciousness, and ai, liis death lie returns to this original state ol" 
unconsciousness, for how should lie be conscious? 

Man is intelligent and sagacious, because he has in liimsell" 
the lluid of the Five Virtues, which is in him, because the Five 

Oil Death. 


Organs ^ are in his body. As long as the five parts are uninjured, 
jiian is bright and clever, but, when they become diseased, his 
intellect is dimmed and confused, which is tantamount to stupidity 
and dullness. 

After death the five inward parts putrefy, and, when they do 
so, tlie five virtues lose their substratum. That wliich harbours 
intelligence is destroyed, and that wliich is called intelligence dis- 
appears. The body requires the fluid for its maintenance, and the 
fluid, the body to become couscious. There is no fire in the world 
burning quite of itself, how could there be an essence without a 
body, but conscious of itself? 

jMan's death is like sleep, aucl sleep comes next to a trance,^ 
which resembles death. If a man does not wake up again from 
a trance, lie dies. If lie awakes, he returns from death, as though 
he had been asleep. Tims sleep, a trance, and death are essen- 
tially the same. A sleeper cannot know what he did, when he 
w as awake, as a dead man is unaware of liis doings during his 
lile-time. People may talk or do anything by the side of a sleep- 
ing man, lie does not know, and so the dead man has no con- 
sciousness of the good or bad actions performed in front of his 
coffin. When a man is asleep, liis vital fluid is stiJl there, and his 
body intact, and yet lie is unconscious. How mucli more must 
this be the case with a dead man, whose vital spirit is scattered 
and gone, and whose body is in a state of decay? 

When a man has been beaten and liurt by another, lie goes 
to tlie magistrate, and makes his complaint, because he can talk 
to people, and is conscious. But, when a person is slain by some- 
body, the murderer is unknown, his family perhaps not knowing' 
even the place, where his corpse is lying. If under sucli circum- 
stances the murdered man was conscious, he would assuredly be 
tilled with the greatest wrath against his murderer. He ouglit to 
be able to speak into the magistrate's ear, and give him the name 
of the miscreant, and, if he Avere able to go home, and speak to 
his people, lie would inform them, where the body was. But all 
that lie cannot do. That shows that lie lias no consciousness. 

1 The Five Virtues are: ― Benevolence, Justice, Propriety, Knowledge, and 
Truth; the Five Organs : ― the Heart, the Liver, the Stomach, the Lungs, and the 

2 No dictionary gives this meaning for t、en T^》, which usually means " to 
exterminate, to cut off. to cease." But it cannot be anything else here. The Chinese 
of to-day will likewise call a faint "death," or "small death,*' hsiao-sse /J、^^. 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

Now-a-days, living persons in a trance will sometimes as mediums 
speak for those avIio have died, and diviners, striking black cliords, 
will call down the dead, whose souls then will talk through tlie divi- 
ner's mouth. All that is brag and Avild talk. If it be not mere 
gossip, then we have a manifestation of tlie vital fluid of some being*. 

Some say tliat tlie spirit cannot speak. If it cannot speak, 
it cannot have any knowledge either. Knowledge requires a force, 
just as speech does. 

Anterior to man's death, liis mental faculties and vital spirit 
are all in order. When lie falls sick, lie becomes giddy, and his 
vital spirit is affected. D(、ath is the climax of sickness. If even 
during a sickness, wliich is only a small beginning of death, a 
man feels confused and giddy, how will it be, when the climax 
is reached ? When the vital spirit is seriously affected, it loses its 
consciousness, and wlien it is scattered altogether? 

Human death is like tlie extinction of fire. When a fire is 
extinguished, its light does not sliiiie any more, and when man 
dies, liis intellect does not perceive any more. Tlie nature of botli 
is the same. If people nevertheless pretend that tlie dead have 
knowledge, tliey are mistaken. Wliat is the dill ere nc*^ between a 
sick man about to die and a light about to go out? When a light 
is extinguished, its radiation is dispersed, and only the candle 
remains. When man has died, 】iis vital force is gone, and the 
body alone remains. To assert that a person after death is still 
conscious is like saying tliat an extinguished light sliiues again. 

During the chilly winter months the cold air prevails, ami 
water turns into ice. At the approach of spring, tlie air becomes 
Avarm, and the ice melts to water. M an is born in the universe, 
as ice is produced, so to say. The Yang and the Yin fluids cry- 
stallise, and produce man. When liis years are completed, and 
liis span of life comes to its end, lie dies, and reverts to those 
fluids. As spring water cannot freeze again, so the soul of a dead 
man cannot become a body again. 

Let us suppose that a jealous Jiusband and a jealous wife are 
living together. The debauchery and the disreputable conduct of one 
party is the cause of constant outbursts of anger, fighting, and quar- 
relling. Now, if tlie luisbaiid (lies, the wife will marry again, and if 
the wife (lies, tin* Imsbaiul will do the same. If the other knew of it, 
he would ijn(l( 出 bfrdly (ly into a rage. But husband and Avifo, when 
dead, keep perltM^tly (juiet, and give no sound. Tlie otl"、r may 
marry again, tli^-y take no heexl, and it lias no evil consequences. 
That proves tliat tluy are unconscious. 

On Death. 


Confucius buried his mother at Fang, i 8ubse(juently such 
heavy rain fell, that the tomb at Fang collapsed. When Confucms 
lieard of it, he 、vept bitterly and said: ― " The ancients did not 
repair gr^A'es/'^ Therefore he did not repair it. Provided the 
(lead are conscious, they ought to be angry with tliose who do 
not keep tlieir tombs in repair. KnoAving this, Confucius would 
have repaired the grave to please the departed soul, but lie did 
not do so. His intelligence as a Sage was of the liigliest order, 
but he knew that spirits are unconscious. 

When dried bones are lying about in lonely places, it may 
happen that some mournful cries are lieard there. If such a wail 
is heard at night - time, people believe that it is the voice of a dead 
man, but they are wrong. When a living man talks, lie breathes. 
•His breath is kept in 】iis mouth and his throat. He moves his 
tongue, opens and shuts his mouth, and thus produces words. It 
is like playing a flute. Wlien the flute is broken, the air escapes, 
and does not keej) inside, and the hands have nothing to touch. 
Consequently no sound is produced. The tubes of the flute cor- 
respond to the human mouth and throat. The hands touch the 
holes in the tubes in the same manner, as man moves his tongue. 
When he is dead, his mouth and throat decay, and the tongue 
moves no more. How should words be articulated then? If, while 
dried bones are lying about, wails and laments are heard, tliey 
come from men, for bones cannot produce them. 

Others imagi iie that it is the autumn (which produces these 
sounds). This statement is not mucli different from the other that 
ghosts cry at night. If the autumn air causes these extraorcliuary 
moans and wails, it must have some substratum. Because this has 
liappenecl near the bones of a dead man, people have presumed 
that these bones are still conscious, and utter these mournful cries 
in tlie wilderness. There are thousands and thousands of skeletons 
bleaching in the grass and in the swamps, therefore we ought to 
be haunted by their laments at every step. 

It is possible to make somebody speak, who usually does not 
speak, but impossible that somebody avIio speaks, should be in- 
duced to speak again after death. Even he wlio spoke before, 
cannot be caused to speak again. Similarly, when a plant comes 

1 A place in Im {Shantung). 

2 A quotation abridged from the Li-kl, Tan Kung. Cf. Legge^ Li-ki Vol. I, 
p. 123. Modern commentators explain the passage quite differently. The dictum of 
Confucius would mean that the ancients did not repair tombs, because they built them 
so well, that they could not collapse, Wang CKungs interpretation is more natural. 


Liin -Heiig: B. Metaphysicnl. 

forth, its fluid is green, which is, as it " ere, given it. When the 
same plant dies, the green colour disappears, or is taken away. 
EndoAved with the fluid, the plant is green, deprived of it, it loses 
the green colour. After the latter is gone, it cannot be added again, 
nor can tlie [)lant grow green again of its own accord. Soiuul 
and colour correspond to one another, and are both derived from 
Heaven. The brilliant green colour is like a lugubrious cry. The 
colour of a faded plant cannot become green again, it would, there- 
fore, be a mistake to assume that a dead man's cry could still be 
produced of itself. 

Man is able to talk, because lie possesses vital energy. As 
long as he can eat and drink, tlie vital energy is well fed, but no 
sooner do eating and drinking cease, than tlie energy is destroyed. 
After this destruction there are no more sounds possible. Wlien 
the person is worn out, and cannot eat any more, tlie mouth cannot 
speak any further. Death is exhaustion in the liigliest degree, how 
could man still speak then? 

There are those Avho say that the dead smell the sacrificed 
meat, and eat the air, and that they are tlms enabled to speak. 
The vital force of the dead is that of the living. Let a living 
being neither eat nor drink, and only inhale tlie smell of offerings, 
and feed upon air, and lie will die of starvation after no more 
thaa three days. 

Another opinion is that tlie vital force of tlio dead is more 
powerful than that of the living, and that for this reason it can 
smell tlie air, and produce sounds. 

Tlie vital force of tlie living is in tlieir body, that of the 
dead, out of it. In what do the dead and the living di (IV r, and 
what difference does it make that the vital fluid is within the 
body, or outside of it? Take water, and lill it into a big jug'. 
When the j ug breaks, the water flows to the earth, but can the 
\N'ater on tlie floor be different iVoin that in the Jug? The water 
on the floor is not difiereiit from that in the jug, then wliy 
should the vital force outside the body be dill emit from that 

Since a man, wJien dead, does not become a ghost, has no 
knowledge, and cannot speak, he cannot hurt others either lor 
tlic following reason. In his anger, a man uses breath, but in 
order to injure others, recjuires streiii^tli. To make use of it, 
his sinews and bones must he strong, tlxMi Ik^ (,;ui hurt others. 
An angry man may breathe lieavily so ncnv to others, that his 
breath shoots forth against their faces, bul though he possess tlie 

Oil Death. 


valour of Meng Pen^ ' it docs them no harm. However, when he 
stretches out liis hand, and strikes, or lifts the foot and kicks, he 
breaks whatever he hits. The bones of the dead decay, the strength 
of liis muscles is lost, and lie does not lift hand or foot. Althon;o;li 
tlio vital fluid be still existant, it is, as if it were, only brcatli- 
ing, and nothing else follows. How then should it do liarni to 

31 en and other creatures hurt others by means oi" knives, 
which they grasp witli their hands and arms, and w ith their strong 
and sharp nails or teeth. Now, when a man is dead, his hands 
and arms waste away, and cannot lift a blade any more, and nails 
and teeth fall out, and cannot bite any more. How should they 
do harm to others then ? 

When a child is just born, his hands and feet are quite 
('onj})lete, yet tlie hands canuot grasp, and the feet cannot kick. 
The fluid has just concreted, but has no strength. Hence it is 
evident that the vital fluid possesses no strength. The fluid forms 
the body. As long as the body is still feeble and weak, it cannot 
do harm to any one, and how much less still, when tlirougli death 
the fluid becomes lost, and the vital spirit is dissolved. Something 
feeble and weak is uncapable of injuring people, and one asserts 
that cold bones can do it? Is the fluid of the dead not lost? How 
should it injure anybody? 

Before a hen's egg is hatched, there is a formless mass in the 
egg-shell, which, on leaking- out, looks like water. After a good 
lien lias covered the egg, tlie body of the chicken is formed, and 
when it lias been completed, the young bird can pick tlie shell, 
and kick. Human death resembles the time of the formless mass. 
How could a formless fluid hurt anybody ? 

A man becomes bold and fierce, so that lie can assault others, 
by eating and drinking. Eating and drinking liis fill, lie grows 
stout and strong, bold and fierce, and can do harm to others. 
While a man is sick, he can neither eat nor drink, and liis body 
becomes worn out and weak. When this weariness and languor 
reach the highest degree, death ensues. During that time of sick- 
ness and languor his enemy may stand by his side, he canuot 
revile him, and a thief may take his things away, he lias uo means 
to prevent him, all on account of liis debility and lassitude. Death 
is the debility and languor in the extreme, how then could a man 
after death still injure any one? 

1 Cf. Chap. XXXI. 


J Am -Heiig: B. Metaphysical. 

If chickens or clogs, which somebody keeps, are stolen, lie 
、、- ill, at all events, wax augiy, though lie be timid, and not very 
strong, imd his anger may be so violent, that he tries conclusions 
with tlie robber, and is slain by him. During the time of great 
anarchy people will use one another as food. Now, provided that 
the spirit was conscious, it ought to be able to destroy its en- 
emies, i A liuinau body is worth more than a chicken or a dog, 
and one's own death is of greater (consequence than a robbery. 
The fact that a man is excited over a chicken or a dog, but has 
no bad feeling against the individual who devoured him, sLoavs 
that lie 2 has not the power to hurt any one. 

Prior to its casting off its exuviae, a cicada is a chrysalis. 
When it casts them off", it leaves the pupa state, and is transformed 
into a cicada. The vital spirit of a dead man leaving the body 
may be compared to the cicada emerging from the chrysalis. As 
cicada it cannot hurt tlie chrysalides. Since it cannot do so, why 
should the vital spirit of a dead man hurt living bodies? 

The real nature of dreams is very doubtful. Some say that, 
while people are dreaming, their vital spirits remain in their bodies, 
and produce lucky or unlucky visions. Others liold that the vital 
spirit communicates with men and other creatures. Now, il" it 
really remains in the body, the vital spirit of the dead must do 
the same. If. however, the spirit mixes with men, people may 
dream that tliey have killed somebody. Having killed somebody, 
they are perhaps themselves murdered by somebody else. But if, 
on the following day, they look at tlie body of tliat person, or 
examine their own, they will find no trace whatever of a wound 
inflicted by a sword. Dreams are caused by the vital spirit, and 
tills spirit is identical witli tlie vital spirit of tlie dead. The vital 
spirit of dreams can not injure people, tliereibre tlie spirit of tlie 
(lead cannot do so either. 

When the lire burns, tlie caldron boils, and vvluni the boiling 
st(){)s, the steam ceases. All depends on the fire. When the vital 
spirit is incensed, it can do harm, not being angry, it cannot injure 
people. Tlie fire blazing- in tlie stove, the kettle bubbles, and 
tlie steam rises. WJien the vital force is enraged in the bosom, 
there is an innervation of strength, and the body is hot. Now, 
when a jnaii is about to die, his body is cold and chilly. The 
cold and chilliness increase, until at last lie expires. At tlie time 

1 Those wliu niscd its Ixxly as food. • 

2 His spirit. 

On Deatl 


of death, the vital spirit is not irritated, and after tlie deatl i ol" 
the body it is like the liot water taken from the caldron, how 
should it hurt people ? 

Tiling's have a certain relation to man. Wlien a man beoomcs 
insane, and one knows the proper thing, his malady may be cured 
by applying this tiling as a remedy. As loug as a thing is alive, 
its vital spirit adheres to its body, and consequently can change 
its form, and enter into close connection with man. After it has 
died, its body rots, aud the vital spirit is dispersed. In default 
of a substratum it cannot undergo any more changes. The human 
vital spirit is like that of things. While they are alive, their spirit 
may become sick, when they die, it evaporates aud disappears. 
Men are like tilings in this respect, when they die, their vital spirit 
also becomes extiuguislied, liow could it still do any mischief? 

! Should anybody object by saying that men are much more 
precious than thing's, and that their vital spirit is different, we can 
reply that, as a matter of fact, things can be metamorphosed, but 
man cannot, and that so far his vital spirit is on the contrary 
inferior to that of things, wlioso essence surpasses that of man. 

Water and fire drown and burn. All that can injure man 
must be a substance belouging- to one of the five elements. 31etal 
hurts man, wood beats him, earth crushes liim, water drowns liim, 
and fire burns him. Is the vital spirit of tlie dead a substance 
like the five elements? Does it injure people, or is it not a sub- 
stance? -一 It cannot injure people. Not being a substance, it must 
be a fluid. Of the fluids wliicb injure man that of the sun is the 
most virulent. Does the fluid of a man, when lie dies, become 
virulent? Can it injure people or not? 一 It canuot injure people. 

Thus we hold that the dead do not become ghosts, are not 
conscious, and cannot hurt people. Consequently, it is evident that 
the ghosts, which are seen, are not the vital force of dead men, 
and til at, when men have been hurt, it cannot have been done 
til rough this vital force. 

202 Luu-H(iig: B. Metapliysical. 


False Reports about the Dead (Sse-wel). 

King ILlian of the C/toti dynasty i is reported to have killed 
his minister, the Earl of Tu, who was innocent. When King Hsilan 
was going to hunt in liis park, the Earl of Tu rose on the road- 
side with a red bow in his left hand. He shot an arrow at the 
king, wlio expired under the cover of liis own bow-case.^ ― Duke 
Chien of Chao ^ put his minister C/mang Tse Yi to death, altliougli 
he was innocent. When Duke Chien was about to pass tlirough 
the Huau gate, CIniancj Tse Yi appeared on the road, a red cudgel 
in liis left hand, with which lie struck the duke, that he died under 
his carriage. This is considered as proving that two dead persons 
became gliosts, and as showing tliat ghosts are conscious, and can 
hurt people, and that there is no help against it. 

1 say that man is created as one of the ten thousand creatures. 
When these creatures die, they do not become ghosts, why then 
must man alone become a ghost after deatli? If it be OAving to 
his superiority that man can become a ghost, then all tlie dead 
ought to be transformed into ghosts, wherefore then did the Earl 
of Tu and Chuang Tse Yi alone become ghosts? If those who have 
innocently suffered can become ghosts, there have been a great 
many ministers thus wronged. Men like Pi Kan and Tse Hsil^ did 
not become ghosts. Now, the Earl of Tu and CI man g Tse Yi were 
immoral. Full of spite and hate, they assassinated their sovereigns, 
out of revenge. There is no crime worse than the assassination 
of one's sovereign. Those who Avere deemed Avorlliy to become 
ghosts, would a<>;ain have to be executed. Therefore the Karl of 
7," and Chuang Tse Yi would (,(、'rtainly not have dared to commit 
sUcli a crime. 

1 827-781 B.C. 

2 The story is given a little more in detail in the ( 'hou ( 7iun-c/im, which 
adds that the king broke his spin (cf. ( 'harannes^ Mrm. I //>/, Vol. I, p. 278, Note 2) 
and also by Me Ti chap, 'S, p. 2. 

3 In the L/itn-h/ng Bk. IV, p. 5 {Shu-hm) lie is called Viscount ( ,'hien of Chao^ 
the .same who is ineiitioned in cliap. XVII. 

•' Oil their fates cl'. p. 14U and chap. XXXIX. 

False Report's about the Dead. 


When one man injures another, he does not wisli him to live, 
and hates to see his person. Therefore he does away with him. 
Then not only the family of the murdered man goes to the magis- 
trate, and lodges a complaint against their enemy, but tlie victim 
also must hate to see hi in. Lile and death are dillereut spheres, 
and men and ghosts live in di He rent places. If, therefore, the Earl 
of Tu and Chiang Tse Yi were grieved at Kiug ILikin and Duke 
Cliien, tliey should not have killed them, for tlieu they would also 
have become ghosts, and again have been together with them. 

Princes have great power, and their officers, guards, and under- 
lings are very numerous. Had the two ministers killed the two 
princes, their deaths would have been avenged. Therefore no in- 
telligent man would have made such a scheme, or committed such 
an act in his wrath. If the two ministers were spirits, they must 
have been aware that the deaths of the two princes would be 
aveno;ed upon them, and, if they were not aware of it, tlien tliey 
were not spirits either, and not being spirits, Iioav could they have 
injured anybody? In the world many things seem real, which are 
not, and there are many falsehoods, wliicli are taken for truths. 
Thus the stories of the Earl of Tu and Chtang Tse Yi have been 
handed down. - 

[Duke Hui of Chin removed the crown- prince Shin Sheng ' from 
his grave, and had him re-interred. When in autumn his charioteer 
I III Tu went to Hsia-luo,^ lie met the crown-priuce there. The crown- 
prince stepped upon his carriage, and spoke to him saying, " I Wu^ 
is a brute. I have asked God. He will give Chin over to Cliin, 
and Cli in will offer sacrifice to me." ― Hu Tu replied, " I liave been 
told that spirits enjoy only the offerings of their own kindred, and 
that people do not sacrifice but to their own clan. Would the 
sacrifice to Your Higliness not be terminated then ? Besides the 
people of Chin are not responsible. Their punishment would be 
unjust, and there would be the cessation of the sacrifice. Your 
Highness should take this into consideration." ― The crown-prince 
said, " Well, I will pray again. Seven days hence, there will he 
a wizard west of the New City, through whom you shall have an 
interview with me." After llu Tu had agreed to it, lie vanished. 
At the fixed time, Hu Tu went to the liut of a wizard on the west 

1 A brothel- of the Duke, who had been driven into death by court intrigues. 

2 Tlie " Lower Capital " of Chin i. e. ( 'hu-wu in modem Ping-yang-Ju {Sliansi). 

3 The personal name oi' Duke Hui. 


Lnn - Hong: B. Metnphysical. 

side of the New City, and had a second interview with Shen Sheng. 
Shell Sheng told liim. " God has promised to punisli the guilty one. 
He will slay him in Han''\ ^ ― Four years later Duke Hui fought 
witli Duke Mu of ChUn in the Han territory/^ and was taken prisoner 
by Duke Mu, exactly as had been predicted. W】iat else was this 
than the work of a spirit? 

This stoiy bears a great resemblauce to those of the Earl of 
Tu and CIruang Tse Yi, How can we sliow that? The removal of 
a grave is a private grievance. God is a public spirit. Would a 
public spirit take lieecl of a complaint addressed to him on a private 
grievance? God is said to have promised to give Chin over to Cli in. 
Ilu Tu tliouglit that tins could not be. Shen Sheng following Ilu 
Tiis words, was quite right, and therefore God's promise to Shen 
Sheng was wrong. It is evident that a spirit wliicli as God would 
be inferior to Hu Tu, cannot be God. 

Furthermore, a subject dares not implore a sovereign to con- 
sider his private affairs. A sovereign has such an exalted position 
in comparison with a bumble subject, that the latter does not 
venture to trouble him witli things that do not concern him. And 
Avas the distance between Shen Sheng and God not still greater tliau 
between a subject and his sovereign? He would not have vented 
his anger against Duke Hui for having removed his grave in the 
august presence of God. 

Li Clii^ caused the death of Shen Sheng by 】ier slander, and 
Duke Hui removed liis corpse from his grave. The removal of a 
corpse is less wicked than a murder, and the guilt of Duke Iful 
less than that of Li Chi. If Slum Sheng prayed for tlie punishment 
of Duke I【ui、 and not for the deatli of Li Chi, then lie resented the 
removal of his grave, but was not grieved at his own death. 

By the advice of Li Sse, CItin Shili Huang Ti burned tlie books 
of poetry and history, and subsec[uently buried the scholars alive. 
The grievances of the literati against hira were not of a less serious 
character than those of Shen Slie)(g^ and the misery of being' buried 
alive, mucli more pitiful tliau tlie removal of a corpse. Yet the dead 
scholars of Ch'in did not implore God, nor appear in the shapes 
of ghosts, and those savants did not conjointly accuse Cliiii Sliih 
Huang Ti of viciousness, and Li Sse of depravity. 

1 Quotation from the Tso-chuan^ Duke Hsi 10th year (049 r.c, Legge^ Classics 
Vol. V, Pt. I, p. 157). 
'2 In Shansi. 

3 A wife of Duke Hmen of' ( ,hin, who, in order to secure the throne for her 
own son, removed tlic licir-appareiit, Shni Shray. 

False Reports nhoiit the Dead. 


When King Wu of the C/toti dynasty was sick and low-spir- 
ited, the Duke of C/iou asked for Heaven's commands. He erected 
three altars with one platform for sacrifices, and witli tlic jade 
sceptre and tlie ])aton in his liauds, addressed T ai Wang, WcDig (,ld 
and Wen Wang, * The annalist composed the prayer. Iii 】iis addivss 
lie said," I am benevolent like my ancestors, have many talents 
and abilities, and can serve tlie spirits. The great-gTandson so-and- 
so lias not as many talents or abilities as Tan, and cannot serve 
the spirits." 2 ― By spirits the three princes are meant. The dead 
are unconscious, and cannot become spirits, they say. Ho\vevGr, 
the Duke of Choa \\as a sage; the words of a sage are true, and 
lie iiiids out the reality of things that seem dark. Such being tlie 
case, the three princes inust have been spirits. 

1 aslv, can men really become spirits or not? Provided, they 
can, then one must know the opinions of the three princes, and 
not solely inquire, Avhetlier they were ghosts. Tlie Duke of CI ton 
asked for Heaven's commands, and the annalist composed tlie prayer. 
When tlie prayer Avas completed, and tlie address finished, the 
Duke of Cliou (lid nor know, whether the three princes gave their 
assent, and how. Upon this lie consulted three tortoises. All three 
bearing lucky signs, lie was pleased. He was able to know that 
the three princes were conscious and spirits, but not, wlietlier tluy 
assented or not. To find out the truth, lie was obliged to still 
consult the three tortoises. Yet in order to determine in an un- 
mistakable Avay, whether tliey 、vei'e spirits or not, it should have 
been possible to interrogate them. The question, whether the dead 
had kiiOAvledge or not, depended on the otlier, whether they could 
give their approval or not. If the Duke of Chou could know that 
tlie tliree princes did not grant his request, tlien the statement 
that they were ghosts is reliable, but if lie could not, then his 
statement that the three princes were ghosts, would not have any 
more weiglit tliaii one made by ordinary people. His knowledge 
would not reacli furtlier than that of the generality, and be inade- 
quate to show us tlie real state of the dead. 

Moreover, by what means did the Duke of Chou obtain Heaven's 
commands, by liis perfect sincerity, or by the correctness of 】iis 
address? If it was by his perfect sincerity, then his prayer was 
said with sincerity, aud lie did not care, whether his address to 

1 The spirits of the father, the grandfather, and the great-grandfather of 
King Wu and his younger brother Tan, Duke of Chou, 

- Quoted in an abridged form from Shu-king, Chin-t'eng, Pt. V, Bk. VI, 1 seq. 
[Legye Vol. Ill, Pt. II, p. 351 seq.). 

206 Liin-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

attract tlie spirits was correct or not. Tung Chung S/ius method of 
praying for rain consisted in putting up a dragon, made of earth, 
with a view to affecting the fluid. An earth dragon was not a real 
dragon, and could not attract rain. While making use of it, Tuny 
Chung S/iu showed perfect sincerity, and did not mind, wlietlier t\w 
dragon was genuine or fictidous. The Duke of 67/ a?*'^ prayer for 
Heaven's commands was like Tung Clinug Sluts prayer for rain. Tlie 
three prim,es were not ghosts, as a heap of earth was not a dragon. 

Ihiln Yen of Chin ^ invaded C/ii, but liad to return, before tlie 
campaign came to a close, for lie was taken ill with iil(>ers, and a 
sore broke out on Ins head. When lie readied tlie Cho-yung terri- 
tory, his eyes protruded from their sockets, and when his death 
ensued, he went on staring, ami liis mouth could not receive any- 
thing. Fan llsilan Tse washed liini, and said by way of consolation, 
"To serve under Your Lordship Avas (le('"le(lly better than under 
Wi/,,, but lie still continued staring. Fan I Isilan Tse observing that 
lie did not close liis eyes, fancied tliat lie Avas vexed witli his son 
Wu^ for vexation witli one's own sou is a very common human 
grievance. Therefore, lie spoke of Wu to comfort him, but tliis 
was not the cause of his resentment, for lie went ou staring. Lima 
Iluai Tse remarked, " Is it perhaps, because, lie did not complete liis 
designs in 67":?", and lie again comforted liini by saying, " Your 
Lordship died an untimely dratli. The things wliicli you did not 
bring to a close in Cli i, are as vast as tlic Yellow Kiver." U])om 
this, he closed his eyes, and received tli(, gem into his inoutli.- It was 
the incompleteness of his invasion of CI" llsnn Yen regretted. 

Lna}i Iluai Tse found it out, therefore the dead man closed his eyes, 
and received tlie gem into his mouth. Fan llsilan Tse missed it, 
therefore liis eyes remained wide open, and his moutli was locked. 

I say that Ifsun Yens death by sickness was very painful, so 
\\n\t his eyes pi-otriulod. When his eyes came out, he firmly closed 
liis mouth, and tlierer(m、 could not receive anything' in it. Im- 
mediately after death tlie fluid was still strong, and tlie eyes pro- 
truded owing to the ])aui (! a used by the disease. Fan llsilan Tse 
sooIIkhI him too soon, tliereforc the eyes did not close, and tlie 
nioutli not open. A sliort wliile afterwards, tlie fluid was weakened. 

1 An officer of the 《 )hin State. 

2 As was customary. Thus far the story, witli some additions and omissions, 
lias been culled from the Tso-cUuan^ Duke H.Hiang 19th year (55^3 u.c). 

False Reports al)out the Dead. 


Consequently, wlien Luau Huai T.< (; coinrortcd liim, liis eyes closed, 
and his mouth received the gem. This \\as a sequence of Hyiin 
Yen's sickness, and the soul of the deceased did not manifest his 
resentment in liis mouth and his eyes. 

All people have sometliiug- to regret, when tliey die A gen- 
erous character regrets that lie could not accomplish all tlie good 
■works lie intended, a scholar tliat his researches had still so many 
lacu 滅, a husbandman that lie did not reap tlie grain lie had sown, a 
me reliant that lie did not make a fortune, an official that lie did not 
obtain the highest posts, and a brave tliat his attainments A\ ere not yet 
perfect. Evciy one on earth who has desires, lias something to regret. 
If in every case regrets be considered the cause of tlie non-closing 
of tlie eyes, then all the dead on earth could not shut their eyes. 

The souls of tlie (lead are dissolved, and cannot hear any 
more what men say. This inability to hear what others say is 
called deatli. If after their separation from tlie body tliey became 
gliosis, and kept near to men. their connection with the body would 
already have been severed, and, though people addressed tlieiu, it 
would be impossible I'or tliem to again enter the body, and close 
the eyes, or open the moutli. K tliey could enter tlie body, and 
tlirougli tlie corpse express tlieir dissatisfaction, then tlie inevitable 
consequence would be that tliey must have been preserved together 
Avitli tlie body. Ordinary people hold that the spirits of the dead 
can, so to speak, re-aniniate the bodies, and slio、v themselves so, 
that corpses would be like living men, "wliicli is a great mistake. 

King Cli eiig of Cli ' u ' set aside the lieir-apparent S/iaiig Clien, 
and wished to put Prince CIdh iii his place. When S/iang Chen 
heard of it, he surrounded the king with tlie palace guards, and 
made him prisoner. The king desired to eat bear's paws, before 
lie was put to deatli, but Slicing Chen did not grant this request, 
and tlie king died by strangulation. Slicing Chen gave him the post- 
humous title Ling, but tlie king did not shut his eyes. Then he 
called liim Cli eng, and lie closed his eyes. This circumstance tliat 
he closed his eyes on being called Clieng, but not on being called 
Ling, proves that King Ch eng had consciousness. Tlie posthumous 
title Ling displeased liim, therefore lie did not shut his eyes. Wlieu 
it was altered into CJieng, his hurt feelings were mollified, wliere- 
vipon lie closed liis eyes. His spirit lieard people consult, and saw 

1 670-624 B.C. 

2 Quotation from the Tso-cknan Duke Wen 1st year (625 b.c.) {Legge Vol. V. 
Pt. I, p. 230). 


Lnn-Heiig: B, Metaphysical. 


them cliange the title. This gave him such satisfaction, tliat lie 
closed his eyes. Tliey 、vei'e not sick, and nobody soothed him. The 
eyes opened, and closed of their own accord ; if that was' not spir- 
itual, what else was it? 

1 am of opinion that tliis story is like that of Hsi'm Yen. Al- 
tliOLigli the eyes were not sick, they did not remain open for nothing. 
Wlien King Cli eng died by strangulation, liis vital fluid was still 
strong, and, wlieii his life was suddenly cut off, his eyes still opened. 
Owing to this the epithet Ling ^ 、vas given him. After a short 
while, tlie fluid relaxod, and tlie eyes were just going to close, 
when simultaneously his title was clianged into Cl^ eng? It was by 
chance that tlie staring and the shutting of the eyes coincided 
with the selection of Liny as a posthumous title. The people of 
that time, noticing that the king shut his eyes as if in response 
to the title ChUng, believed that it was the soul of King Cli'eng. 
If lie was really conscious, lie ought iievei' to have closed his eyes, 
for tlie niurder committed by the lieir-appareiit upon his person 
■\vas a heinous crime, wliereas the selection of the word Ling as a 
posthumous title was only a small fault. He did not resent the 
great crime, but took offence at the small fault. That does not 
make the existence of a spirit probable, and would not s(^eiii a 
reliable utterance of his feelings. Of improper posthumous titles 
we liave not only Ling but also Li, In the amials many princes 
bearing tlie epithets Ling and Li are mentioned. They did not all 
keep tlieir eyes open, before tlieir bodies were slirouded. Did the 
dead princes of the various ages not resrnt tlic name, and 、vas it 
King CI I eng alone who took umbrage? I- low is it that there were 
so many of the name of Ling, and so fe、v wlio did not close 
their eyes? 

Yn of Cli eng was greedy and perverse, and his desires were 
many. Tue I Isi wished to rank before every one else. Both, of 
course, could not get on to<;ptlu'r. Tse llsi assaulted Po Fw, who 
took to flight, lise Tai led couiitiyineu against him, and defeated 
liiiii. I\) Yii (lied/ Nine years later [tlie j)('0])l(' of CJieng took 

' lAru/ 遂宣 might iiicuii : aiiiiiiatccl, alive, a spii'it, hut it lia.s many other 
significations besides, as : — intelligent, ingenious, dever, whit 'li might well be used 
as a postliuinous title. 

2 This jjj^ would mean : 一. tlic coinplctcr, the perfect one. 

3 U 1^ is ill fact not ; i propc;]- lioiioi'ary cpitlict, it,s sense being: — ojjpressive, 
('rnel, malicious, ugly, tciTil)lr. 

' Accord iiig to tlie Tm-ckaan in .A'l u.c. 

False Reports about the Dead. 


alarm owing to Po Yti. They said that Po Yu was coming. Conse- 
quently, they all ran away, not knowing where to go. In the fol- 
lowing year, some people saw Po in their dreams walking about 
ill armour, and saying, "On the day jen-tse, I will slay Sse T(d, and 
next year on jen-yin, I will slay Kung Sun Tuan." ― When the,jen-tse 
day arrived, Sse lai died, and the fright of the citizens still in- 
creased. Afterwards, when the jen-yin day came, Kung Sun Tuan 
died also, and the citizens felt still more alarmed. Tse Clian ' pro- 
moted liis descendant to soothe him, and lie kept quiet ever since.] 
Po Yu appeared in dreams, and said, " Ou the jen-tse day I will slay 
Sse Tai, and on jen-yin I will kill Kut)g Sun Tuaii." When the Jen-tse 
day came, Sse Tai died, and when the jen-yin day arrived, Kung Sun 
Tuan breathed his last. [Wlieu subsequently Tse Clian betook him- 
self to Chilly Ching Tse of Chao questioned liim saying, "Could Po Yu 
still become a ghost?" ― Tse Ch^an rejoined, "He could. When man 
is born, that wliicli is first created, is called animal soul, and, wlien 
the animal soul lias been formed, its yang becomes the mind. In 
case the substance and the elements are abundantly used, the soul 
and tlie mind grow very strong, and therefore show great energy, 
until tliey become spirits. Even the soul and the mind of au Or- 
el in aiy man, or an ordinary woman, wlio have met with a violent 
death, can attach tli eras elves to men, as evil spirits, and fancy Po 
Yu, a descendant of a former sovereign pf mine, Duke Mu,^ the 
grandson of Tse Liang, and the son of Tse Erh, who was governor 
of a small territory, the third of his family who held this post! 
Although CKeng is not a ricli country, and, as a saying of CKeng is, 
a small and unimportant State, yet three successive generations have 
ruled over it. The stuff Po Yu was made of was copious and rich, 
and his family great and powerful. Is it not natural that having 
met with a violent death, he should be able to become a gliost?"]^ 
Po Yzi killed both Sse Tai and Kung Sun Tuan, and did not miss 
the appointed time. That shows that he was really a spirit. W lie 11 
T^e Clian liad raised his descendant, lie kept quiet. Tse C/ian under- 
stood the doings of ghosts, and therefore knew that they really 
existed. Since they are real, and not an illusion, Tse Clian an- 
swered the question addressed to him unhesitatingly. Tse Cliau 、、- as 
a wise man who understood the nature of things. If" Po Yu after 

1 Tse Ch'an is the style of the celebrated statesman Kun Sun CJiiao of CKmg 
581-521 B.C. 

2 Duke Mu of Cheng 62()-604 b.c. 

3 Quotation from the Txo-chuan, Duke Ch'ao 7th year (534 b.c.) {Legge Vol. V, 
I)t. 11, p. 618). ' 

I'lm - rieiig. 14 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

death possessed no knowledge, liow could, lie kill Sse Tai and Kung 
Sun Tuan? And if he could not become a ghost, why had Tse C/ian 
not the slightest doubt about it? 

My answer is, as follows. The man wlio lived at enmity with 
Po Yu was Tse Hsi. He attacked Po Yw, who fled. Sse Tai led liis 
countrymen against Po Yu, and defeated liim. Kung Sun Tuan merely 
followed Sse Tai, but did not settle his own dispute. His wrong 
was much smaller. Po Yu killed Sse Tai, but did not wreak his 
vengeance upon Tse Hsi. Since Kung Sun Tuan died along with Sse 
Tai, tliougli his guilt was not worth speaking of, the soul of Po Yu 
was not conscious. Taking his revenge as a ghost, he did not make 
any distinction between a grave and a small offence, as he ought 
to have done. 

Furthermore, Tse CKan asserted that he who dies a violent 
death can become a ghost. What does a violent death mean? Does 
it mean that according to fate Po Yu ought not yet to have died, 
when lie was killed? Or does it mean that Po Yu was guileless, but 
hardly dealt with? If the idea is that he was slain, before tlie time of 
his death had arrived, there are many others 、vlio likewise died be- 
fore their appointed time, and if it signifies that Po Yu was not guilty, 
but tlie victim of an outrage, tlien Po Yu was not alone outraged. 
If murdered meu can become ghosts, Pi Kan and Tse ILil did not. 

During the " Spring and Autumn " period thirty-six sover- 
eigns in all were assassinated. Theirs were violent deaths par ejc- 
cellence. Tlieir sway extended over entire States, tlie fine substance 
of which tliey were formed must have been very abundant, and 
they succeeded one another as lords of the soil, not only tli rough 
three generations. The dignity of a reigning prince is not on a 
level with that of a governor. Their ancestors, who were first 
enfeofled, were certainly the equals of Tse Liang, the son of Duke 
Mu. Since the sovereigns of States who suffered death at the hands 
of their treacherous subjects, were of the highest nobility, their souls 
as ghosts would have been more en ligli toned than Po Yu, wlio in 
taking his revenge and killing his enemies went so far as to destroy 
Sse Tai and Ku"y Sun Tuan. The thirty-six princes did not become 
ghosts, nor did their thirty-six subjects feel tlieir vengeance. If the 
spirit of Po Yu possessed knowledge, because lie was a reckless 
character, the world lias never seen more desperate men than Chieh 
and Cliou, yet, when Chieh and Cliou were put to deatli, tlieir souls 
did not l>t'<:ome ghosts. Clian's reasoning is a posteriori. Noticing that Po Y^l Tiiet 
with a violent death, lie held that all people dying an uuiial ural 

False Reports about the Dead. 


death can become ghosts. Had Po Yu become a ghost without 
having met with a violent death, lie would have maintained that 
all people can become ghosts, unless they have died an unnatural 
deatli. What diirerence was there between Tse Hd and Po Yu, wliile 
both were living in C/ieng? Why should liis deatli be otherwise 
tlian that of Po Yu? Both were killed by their contryinen for their 
lawlessness. Po Yn could become a ghost, and Tse Hd could not. 
The argument on the violent deatli would suit in the case of Po Yu, 
but be inadmissible in that of Tse Hsi, The story of Po Yu. is like 
tlie tale of the Earl of Tu. The tale of tlie Earl of Tu being un- 
reliable, that of Po Yu cannot be regarded as true either. 

[Duke Huan of Ch in i invaded Chin, and encamped himself at 
Fu-s/iih.'^ The Marquis of Chin had gathered his troops in Ch;? to 
seize the land of the 7V,* and restore the Marquis of Li.^ When 
he came back from this expedition, Wei Ivo defeated the army of 
CI I in at Fu-shih, and made Tu Hui prisoner. Tu Hui was the strongest 
man iu C/i in. Previously Wei Wu Tse& had a favourite concubine, 
but no son by her. Wlien lie fell sick, lie bade Wei K o to give 
his concubine to somebody in marriage. Afterwards, wlien his case 
became more serious, he ordered Wei iCo again to bury the con- 
cubine with him, but, when Wei Wu Tse's deatli ensued, ]\ ei K'o did 
not bury her. Some people found fault with liiin, but Wei K'o re- 
plied, During his delirium tlie mind of my father was deranged, 
therefore I followed the orders lie gave, when lie was iu his senses." 
At the battle of Fu-shih, Wei K o perceived an old man plaiting grass 
with a view to ensnaring Tu Hui, who stumbled, and fell down, and 
thus was caught. Iu the night he beheld the old man in his dreams, 
who said to him , "I am the father of the AAoman wliich you have 
given away. You have obeyed your father's orders of the time, 
when he was still iu his right mind, therefore I have paid you my 
debt of gratitude."] ' 

The father of the favourite knew the virtue of Wei iCo, tliere- 
I'ore lie appeared in the shape of a ghost, plaited grass, and helped 

1 603-575 B.C. 

2 Near Hsi-an-fu in Shensi. 

3 In the Ping-yang prefecture {Shansi). 

4 Aboriginal, non-Chinese tribes. 

5 The Ti had dethroned him, and conquered his territory. 

6 Wei ICo's father. 

' Quotation iVoiii the 'I'sd-ckuan, Duke Hman Inth year (o9o b.c). 



Lnn - Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

him to win the battle. This clearly proves tlie enlightenment ami 
the knowledge of the spirit. 

I say that, provided that the father of the woman did know 
tlie virtue of Wei K o, and appeared as a ghost to help hi in in 
battle, he should have been able to reward those wliom he liked 
during his life-time, and to destroy whom lie hated, while alive. 
Ilumau intercourse is amicable or otherwise. Kindness and un- 
friendliness must be requited, just as gratitude was to be shown 
for the sake of the woman. Now, the old man was unable to re- 
quite the liiudness 】ie liad received, while alive, and only could show 
his gratitude for the goodness which lie received after death. That 
is no proof of knowledge, or of the ability to become a gliost. 

When Chang Liang walked on the banks of the river Sse, an 
old man presented liim with a book. ^ Kuang Wu TP was sorely 
pressed in Ho-pei,^ wlieu an old man gave his advice. One's fate 
being grand, and the time lucky, one must meet with felicitous and 
pleasant auguries. Wei iCo was to take Tu llul prisoner, and to 
clistiuguish himself in battle, consequently the phantom of an old 
man appeared plaiting grass, where the hosts were passing. 

Wang CM* was buried at the foot of Mount Hua. The Luaii 
river having undermined liis tumulus, the front part of his coffin 
became visible. Wen Wang said, " How pleasing ! Our old lord 
certainly wislies to see his officers and people once moro, therefore 
lie caused the Luaii to bring his coffin to light." Upon this, lie 
held a court, and all the people could view him for three days. 
Then he had him buried again. 一 Wen Waiig was a sage, wlio knew 
the true nature of things and principles. Seeing that Wang Chi\s 
coffin was visible, he knew tliat his spirit was desirous of seeing 
tlie people, therefore lie took liim out, and showed liiin. 

T faru^y that all the kings and emperors who from ancient 
times were entombed in tlie earth alter their deaths, must be counted 
by thousands. They did not desire to see their people again, where- 
fore should Wa7ig Chi alone liave done so? On the banks of tlie 
Yellow River and tlie Sse, many tombs liavo been built, and tlie, coffins 
which by an inundation and a land-slip have been uncovered are 

1 Cf. p. 95. 

2 25-57 A.D. 

3 In Shan si, 

4 The father of Wen Wang. 

False Reports about the Dead. 


innumerable. Did all those persons wish to see their people again? 
The undermining of tlie foot of Mount Ku by the Luan is like the 
inundations and the ruptures caused by the waters of the Yellow 
River and the Sse. Wen Wang perceiving the front part of the coffin 
exposed, commiserated the old lord, and felt sorry for him, and 
imagined that he wished to come out again. This is the natural 
sentiment of a devoted and filial son, and a natural feeling for the 
other's well-being. As the wise man and the sage lie was, he felt 
deeply touched, and did not take the time to reason and analyse 
liis feelings. He treated a dead man, as though he were living, 
and therefore gave him a new tomb. The masses believe in the 
words of wise men and sages, hence they fancy that Wang Chi wished 
to see his people. 

Duke Ching of Ch'i ^ was going to invade Sung, When his 
troops passed Mount T'nl, the diike saw two old gentlemen in his 
dream, who stood there in a fit of passion. The duke told Yeji Tse 产 
wlio replied, " They are T' ang^ and Yi Kw,* former worthies of 
Sung.'' ― The duke was incredulous, and thought that they were the 
spirits of Mount T( ai. Yen Tse said, " Your Highness disbelieves me, 
allow ine to describe the appearance of T'ang and Yi Yin. T any 
is pale and tall, and has a beard on the chin, which is pointed 
above, and full below. He keeps himself straight, and talks with 
a loud voice." ― The duke said, " Yes, so he is." Yen Tse continued, 
" Yi Yin is dark and short, and has dishevelled hair and whiskers, 
whicli are full above and pointed below. He has a stooping gait, 
and talks low." ― The duke said, " Yes, so he is, but what is to 
be done now? " — Yen Tse replied, " T'ang, T'ai Chia, Wu Ting, and 
Tsu Yi^ were excellent rulers of the empire. It is not right that 
tliey should have no offspring left. Now there remains only Sung, 
which Your Highness is going to invade. Therefore T'ang and 
Yi Yin are enraged, and ask you to dismiss your army, and keep 
peace witli Sung." ? ― The duke did not take heed, and invaded Sung 

1 546-488 B.C. 

2 The Great Diviner of Ch'i (cf. p. 112) and reputed author of the 】'en 
Tse ch'un-ch'iu. 

3 The founder of the Shang dynasty, 1766-1753 b.c. 

4 T'ang's prime minister. 

5 All four were sovereigns of the Shang dynasty. T'ai Chia reigned from 
1753-1720, Wu Ting 1324-1265, and Tm 】'i 1525-1506 b.c. 

6 The dukes of S'mg derived their descent from the sovereigns of the 
Shang dynasty. 

" Quoted fi'oni Yen Tse's Ch'un-ch'lti ( T\ii-ping-yu-lan) with some variations. 

214 Lun - Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

after all, wheu his army was in fact beaten. ― T'ang and Yi Yin pos- 
sessed knowledge, and resented tlie attack of Duke Citing upon Sung, 
therefore tliey appeared to him in liis dreams enraged, for the pur- 
pose of checking liim, but Duke Ching did not stop, and his army 
met with a reverse. 

They say that previously Duke Ching had already seen a comet 
in his dreams. At tlie time in question, the comet did not appear, 
which was unlucky. It may be so, but all this were dreams. Duke 
Ching saw a comet, but it was not a real comet, and lie dreamt of 
T^ang and Yi Yi7i, but they were not real. Perhaps they were in- 
auspicious visions accompanying the defeat of his army. Yen Tse 
believed in the dream, and said that the figures were those of T'amj 
and Yi Yin, Duke Ching accepted Yen Tses explanation as true. When 
the CI I in united the empire, they destroyed the descendants of Yi 
Yin. From that time up to the present the sacrifices to T^ang and 
Yi Yin have been discontinued, why did tliey not resent it? 

[7^^ CKan of CJieng ^ was sent on a complimentary mission to 
Chin. The raarquis of Chin^ was sick. Han IhUan Tse^ went to meet 
the guest, and privately said to him, "My prince is laid up three 
months already. Although we all have run about to sacrifice to 
the hills and streams, his sickness increases instead of improving. 
Now he has dreamt of a yellow bear passing through the door 
of his bedchamber. What devil can that be?"— 756^ Clian replied, 
" Since the prince is so eiiliglitened, and your administration so grand, 
wliy should there be a malignant spirit ? Of yore Yao banished Kun 
for perpetuity to Mount Yil.^ His spirit became a yellow bear, which 
entered into tlie deep holes of the Ya. It eventually became an ob- 
ject of veneration to the lisia 、& and the Three Dynasties^ sacrilioed 
to it. The marquis of Chin is an allied prince,^ has he perhaps 
not sacrificed to it?" ― Han Hsilan Tse performed tlie sacrifice of the 
Hsia, and the marquis of Chin felt a relief.] ^ The yellow bear \N as 

1 Vid. p. 209. 

2 His name was PHng (556-530 b.c). 

3 Prime minister of (Jhin. 

4 The father of the Emperor Yii, 

6 South of I-chou in Shantung, 
^ The Hsia dynasty. 

7 IIsi(" Shung 、 and Chou. 

Allied to the reigning house of Chou. 
" Quoted from the Tso-chuan, Duke CNao 7th year (534 b.c.) Legge Vol. V, 
Pt. II, p. 617). 

False Reports about the Dead. 


the spirit oi" Kun. The marquis of CJiin had not sacrificed to it, 
therefore it passed through the door of his bedroom. When CI"" 
knew it, and performed the sacrifice, the disease was interrupted. 
Does that not show that the dead are conscious? 

That Kun was left to die on Mount Yii every one knows, but 
wlierefrom should people learn that his spirit became a yellow bear, 
and entered the depths of the Yii? If it was like Duke Niu Ai of 
L,i、 who during a disease was transformed into a tiger, ' it could 
have been verified at the time of death. Now Kun died far away 
on Mount Yii, nobody was with liim, 〜、- here did the news come from 
then? Moreover, it is expressly slated that his spirit became a 
bear, which implies that he died. That after death his spirit became 
a yellow bear, men had no means to ascertain. 

People call a dead man a ghost. A ghost is like a living man 
in form, and does not look otherwise than a man, and yet it is not 
tke spirit of the deceased. How much less a bear, which lias no 
human form, and does not resemble man I If really the spirit of 
Kun after death was transformed into a yellow bear, then the spirit 
of a dead bear might also eventually become a man. How could 
anybody dreaming of it know but tliat it was the spirit of a dead 
animal? Those who believe that the bear was tlio spirit of Kun 
will also imagine that the ghosts wliicli appear are the vital force 
of the dead. Tliere is no proof that it is the vital force of human 
beings, and we cannot own that a yellow bear was the spirit 
of Kun. 

Furthermore, dreams are visions. When good or bad luck are 
impending, the mind shapes these visions. Thus the sight of a 
bear will also admit of an interpretation.'^ Now, in case that the 
spirit of Kun really became a yellow bear after death, must the 
yellow bear which appeared in the dream at all events have been 
the spirit of Kun? The feudal princes were wont to sacrifice to 
tlie inountaius and streams. Should tlie marquis of Chin have viewed 
mountains and streams in his dreams, would it not have been, 
because lie had offered sacrifice to them, that those mountains and 
streams appeared to liiin ? ^ 

When people are sick, tliey often see their deceased ancestors 
arriving and standing by their side : are we again to suppose that 
these deceased ancestors show themselves for the purpose of asking 

1 Cf. Chap. XXVII. 

2 Like other dreams. The visions have mostly a symbolical meaning, and 
must not be semblances of real beings. 

3 They would be evoked by his remembrance, but not be real. 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

for food? What we see in our dreams is, moreover, being inter- 
preted as having some other meaning, and is not real anylicnv. How 
can we prove that? When in a dream we have perceived a living 
man, this man, seen in our dream, does not meet us on the following- 
day. Since the man seen in the dream, does not meet us, we know 
that the yellow bear of Kun did not pass through the bedroom 
door, as a matter of fact, and, since it did not, Kun did not ask 
for food either. Kun not having asked for food, the disease of the 
marquis of Chin was not a misfortune caused by liis neglect of the , 
Hsia sacrifice, and since it was not a calamity brought about by '- 
the non-observance of this ceremony, the relief of the marquis of 
Chin was not a lucky event caused by the performance of the sacri- 
fice. There having been no real luck, it is evident that there was 
no consciousness on the part of Kun. 

This is like the case of Lin An, Prince of Huai-nan, * who died 
charged with high-treason, and is nevertheless commonly reported 
to have ascended to heaven as an immortal.^ Whether Tse C/t'an 
also had heard such a false rumour,^ we cannot make out now. 
By chance the force of the sickness of the marquis of Chin was 
just going to be broken of itself, when Tse CJian happened to ex- 
plain the appearance of the yellow bear. Thus the statement that 
the yellow bear was the spirit of Kun found credence. 

The Emperor Kao Huang Ti* intended to make Ju Yi, Prince 
of Clmo, his successor, because he was like liim. The Empress Lit 
Hou was furious, and afterwards poisoned the prince of CJiao. When, 
later on, Lu Hou went out, slie beheld a grey dog, which bit her 
under her left arm. She thought it strange, and by divination 
found out that it had been Ju Yi, prince of Cliao, who had haunted 
her. She then beg;an to suffer from the wound under her arm, 
wliich did not heal, and died.^ People believe that the spirit of 
Ju Yi transformed itself into a grey dog to take his revenge. 

1 say that, when a valiant warrior fighting, flushed with anger, 
succumbs, sword in hand, and being hurt, sinks to the ground, and 

1 The Taoist philosopher Huai Nan Tse. 

2 Vid. chap. XXVIII. 

:i With i-egard to the metamorphose of Kun. 

4 Han Kao Tm, 20G 194 B.r. 
-' Cf. chap. XVIII. 

False Reports about the Dead. 


breathes his last, lie sees with his eyes the adversary, wlio lias hit 
him, yet, after death, his spirit is incapable of taking its vengeance. 
When Lil IJou poisoned Ju Yi, she did not step forward personally, 
but liad instructed some one to administer the poison. First the 
prince was not aware of his being poisoned, and then in his anger 
did not know, who the murderer was. How then could he become 
a demon, and avenge liimself upon Lil Ihu? 

If tlie dead possessed knowledge, nobody had more reason to 
hate Lit Hou than tlie Einperor Kao Tsn. He loved Ju Yi, whom 
the empress killed. The soul of -Kao Tsu ouglit to have been like 
a peal of tliunder in his wrath, and not have waited one day, be- 
fore he called Lil Hou to account. Why was the spirit of Kao Tsu 
not like that of Ju F«, and why did lie dislike Ju Yi after his death, 
aud acquiesce in tlie murder of the empress ? 

When the report of a quarrel wliicli the prime minister T' ien 
Fen, ' Marquis of Wii-an,- had had witli tlie former generalissimo 
Kuan Fu over a glass of wine reached the emperor, Kuan Fu was im- 
prisoned. Ton YingS attempted to rescue liim, but could not save 
liim, and the consequence was that Kuan Fu brought down capital 
pimisliment upon 】iimself, and that Tou Ying had to suffer death 
likewise. Subsequently, T'ien Fen contracted a very painful disease, 
during which lie cried, "Yes, yes," and asked tlie by-standers to 
look. Tliey beheld Kuan Fu and Tou Ying sitting by liis side. T'ien 
Fens sickness did not release, until lie died.^ 

I reply that lie was not the only man wlio killed another. 
Other murderers have not seen their victims, when they fell sick 
afterwards, whereas T、ien Fen beheld tlie two men whose deaths 
lie had brought about. Tl£n Fen alone did so, because he felt their 
anger, and in his delirium had hallucinations. Or maybe he per- 
ceived some other ghost, and the necromancer having heard of his 
former dispute with Kuan Fu and Tou Ying, and of his wish to 

1 Uncle of the Emperor Han Wu Ti. 
- District in Honan. 

3 Commander-in-chief under the Emperor Ching Ti, 156-140 B.C., who was 
supplanted by T'ien Fen. 

4 We learn from the C'Kien Han-shu, chap. 52, p. 12, Biography of Kuan Fu, 
that T'ien Fen felt pain all over the body, as if he were flogged, and cried for 
mercy. The einperor sent his visioiiist to look at him, who reported that the ghosts 
of Kuan Fit and 7'ou Ying were holding him, and beating him to death. 


Luii-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

learn tlie real name of tlie spirit, and seeing him crying, " Yes, 
yes," at random, gave tlie answer that Kuan Fu and Tou Ying were 
sitting near him. 

Tlie governor of Huai-yang^ ' Yin Ch^i, was a very cruel and 
oppressive magistrate. When he liacl passed away, the people whom 
lie had wronged intended to burn his body, but it disappeared, and 
reverted to its grave. He was conscious, therefore the people were 
going to burn liim, and he was a spirit, therefore lie could disappear. 

I presume tlmt tlie vanished spirit of Yin Clii lias his analogies. 
During tlie Ch' in epoch three mountains disappeared.- and al)out 
the end of the C/iou dynasty tlie Nine Tripods were engulphecl.'^ 
Provided that things wliicli can disappear are spirits, then the tliree 
mountains and tlie Nine Tripods must liave had consciousness. 
Perhaps the then magistrate, apprised of the design of the angry 
populace, stealthily removed tlie corpse, and pretended that it had 
disappeared, and for fear, lest the outraged people should vent 
their wrath upon liimself, declared that it liad done so of its own 
accord. All persons who can disappear must have their feet to walk 
upon. Now, tlie circulation of the blood of the deceased had been 
interrupted, and his feet could not move any more. How should 
he have managed his flight? 

In Wu^ Wn Tse Hsii was cooked,* and in Han, P^eng Yiieh ^ was 
pickled. Burning and pickling' is the same torture. Wu Tse Hsii 
and P eng Yileh were equally brave. They could not escape tlie 
cooking, or avoid the pickling, and Yin C/ii alone is said to have 
been able to return to his tomb. That is an untrutli and an un- 
founded assertion. 

Doomed 6 Wany Mang removed tlie empress Fkt Hon, the 、vilV. 
of the emperor Yuan T; from licr tomb. He desecrated her coffiu, 
and took from it boxes with jewels and seals. Afterwards he con- 

1 The present CKm-cJtou, in Honan. 

2 Cf. chap. XX. 

3 Cf. chap. XL. 
* Cf. p. 140. 

5 P'rng Yuch, King of fAany, was executed by order of Ilan Kao Isu in 
196 B.C., when he had revolted against the emperor. All his relations to the third 
degree vvei'c put to deatli along with hiin. Vid. Shi-chi chap. S, p. 33v. 

" An epithet often given to Ch'in Shih HiKtny Ti and Wang Mang, both etjually 
detested by the literati. 

7 48-32 B.C. 

False Reports about tlie Dead. 

2 1 

veyed the corpse to Ting-fao, ' where he had it Imriwl again after 
the fashion of common people. When tlie coffin was taken out, a 
stencil rose to heaven. The governor of Loijang on approaching tlio 
coffin sinelled it, and dropped down dead. Wang Many likewise disin- 
terred the empress Ting Hon, wif(> to the emperor Kiing Wcukj - in Ting- 
{ (10, but fire issued from her crypt, and burned several hundred offi- 
cials and scholars to death. The re-interincnt was done in a lo"' style, 
and the dead were robbed of tlieir valuables. These two insults induced 
them to cause the stench, and send the fire to destroy the offenders. 

I say that the stench rose to heaven, because many eatable 
things had been placed into the grave. It is not passing strange 
that men could not stand the mepbetic vapours, wlieii the smell 
of tlie putrid matter came forth in abundance, but it is strange that 
flames should have flashed from the ciypt. At all events, it was 
not tlie spirit of the empress ling Hou, for the following reason. 
Must lie who breaks open, and despoils graves not be mucli more 
hated than lie wlio merely changes the tombs? Yet, during a year 
of scarcity, those who dig up tombs for the purpose of appropriat- 
ing tlie garments of tlie dead must be counted by thousands. Pro- 
vided that the departed know, wlien others strip tliem of their 
clothes, aud leave their bodies naked, tliey cannot hinder it at that 
time, and, later on, have no means to take their revenge. 

But these are people of small account, not worth mentioning. 
C/i in Shih Huang Ti was buried near tlie Li-shan.^ At the close of 
Erli S/iih Huang Ti's reign * tlie robbers of the empire dug up liis 
grave, and lie could not send forth either stench or fire, nor kill 
a single man I He liad been the Son of Heaven, and could not 

o , 

become a spirit. How tlien should Fu Hou and Ting Hou, two women, 
have been able to do miracles? They are believed to have become 
spirits, but not in the same way, and to have shown their powers 
in different places. People saw flames, and smelled bad odour. 
Consequently the assertion that botli became spirits is erroneous. 

1 In Tsao-chou-fu {Shantung). 

2 946-934 B.C. 

3 Near Hsi-an-fii, where the tumulus of the mighty emperor is still visible. 
* 209-206 B.C. 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

Spook Stories [Chi-yao). 

Duke Ling of Wei^ was proceeding to Chin. When he had 
arrived on the banks of the river Pu;2 he heard at night-time a 
new tune played on the guitar, which pleased him so well, that 
he ordered somebody to ask his attendants about it. They all 
reported that they had heard nothing. Then he called for the 
music-master CMan, and told him saying, " There was some one 
playing a new melody, I gave orders to ask my followers about 
it, but they all stated that they had not heard anything. It is, 
as if a ghost made the music for me. Pray, listen to it and write 
it down for me." The music-master Chuan acquiesced, sat quietly 
down, played the guitar, and wrote down the tune. On the following 
morning he reported that he had got it, but still required some 
practice. He therefore asked for one night more to practise. Duke 
Ling granted this request. Chuan practised one more night, and 
on the next morning he had mastered it. They then went on 
to Chin. 

Duke P ing of Chi?i^ feasted him on the Shi Yi terrace.'* When 
they were flushed with wine, Duke Ling rose and said, " I have 
a new tune, which 1 would like to have played for Your Highness 
to hear." The duke consented, and he called upon the music- 
master Chuan to sit down next to the music-master iCuang, to 
take the lute, and strike it, but, ere Chuan had linislied, K'uang 
grasped the instrument, and stopped him saying, " This is a song 

1 533-499 B.C. 

2 Oil the border of tlic provinces ( 'hili and Shantung. 

3 530 B.C. 

•» 施 ^ The Slii-chi chap. 24, p. 311 v. calls it the " Slii-hti terrace," 施 
. wliirli was situated on the Frn river in Shansi. 

Spook Stories. 


of a doomed State. You must not proceed." Duke P ing inquired, 
" Where does it come from? " 一 The music-master fC uang replied, 
" It is a licentious melody composed by the music-master Yen, who 
made this voluptuous music for Chou. Wii Wang executed Ckou, 
hanging his head on a white banner.' Yen fled to the east, and, 
when he had readied the river Pu, lie drowned himself. Therefore 
to hear this time one must be on the banks of the Pu. If form- 
erly any one heard it, his State was wiped out. It must not be 
continued." — Duke P' ing said, " I am very partial to music. Let 
him go on." Ch'ikm then finished his tune. 

Duke PUng said, " What do they call this air? "— The music- 
master replied, "It is what they call G major." - "Is not G major 
most plaintive? ", asked the duke. 一 "It does not come up to C 
major," replied iCuang. ― " Could I not bear C major? ", inquired the 
duke. ― The music-master rejoined, " You cannot. Of old, only 
princes possessed of virtue and justice were allowed to hear C 
major. Now the virtue of Your Highness is small. You could 
not stand the hearing of it." ― The duke retorted, " I am very 
partial to music, and I would like to hear it." iCuang could not 
help taking up the lute and thrumming it. When lie played the 
first part, two times eight black cranes came from the south, and 
alighted on the top of the exterior gate. When he played again, 
tliey formed themselves into rows, and, when lie played the third 
part, they began crowing, stretching their necks and dancing, flap- 
ping their wings. The notes F and G were struck with the greatest 
precision, and their sound rose to heaven. Duke P ing was en- 
raptured, and all the guests were enclianted. The duke lifted the 
goblet, and rose to drink the health of the music-master K uang. 
Then lie sat down again, and asked, " Is there no more plaintive 
music than that in C major? " 

iCuang replied, " It falls short of A major." 一 " Could I not 
hear it? ", said the duke. ― The music-master replied, " You cannot. 
Of yore, Huang Ti assembled the ghosts aud spirits on the Western 
Mount T'ai.^ He rode in an ivory carriage, to which were yoked 

1 Cf. Shi-chi chap. 4, p. 1 1 and Chap. XXXVni. 

2 I am not quite certain, whether G, C, and A major are a correct rendering 
of Chinese cKing (clear) shang, chili and chio 、/^ o^^o^^ • the J^i "moires 
concemant les Chinois Vol. VI, p. 115 these notes are identified with sol, ut, and la. 
At any rate cKiiig (clear) 、?靑 and its correlate cho (obscure) 、《簡 would be ap- 
propriate terms to designate sharp aud flat notes. 一 The parallel passage of the Shi-chi 
omits to specify the airs, as is done here. 

3 The sacred Mouiit T'ai is in the East, in Shantung, not in the West. 


Lull -Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

six black dragons. The Pi-fang bird' came along with it, and Cli ih 
Yu was in front. The Spirit of tlie Wind came forward sweeping 
the ground, and the Spirit of Rain moistened the road. Tigers and 
wolves were in front, and ghosts and spirits in the rear, reptiles 
and snakes crawling ou the ground, and white clouds covering the 
empyrean. A great assembly of ghosts and spirits ! And then he 
began to play in A .major. Your virtue, Sire, is small and would 
not suffice to hear it. If you did, I am afraid, it would be your ruin." 

Duke P ing rejoined, " I am an old man and very foud of 
music. I would like to hear it." ― The music-master Jv nang could 
not but play it. When he had struck tlie first notes, clouds rose 
from the nortli-west, and when he played again, a storm broke 
loose, followed by torrents of rain. The tents were rent to pieces, 
the plates and dislies smashed, and the tiles of tlie verandah hurled 
down. The guests fled iti all directions, and Duke P ing was so 
frightened, that lie fell down under the porches. The Chin State 
was then visited with a drought. For tliree years the soil was 
scorched up. The duke's body began to suffer pain and to laaguisli 

What does tliat mean? Since the State of Duke Ling of Wei 
Avas not going to ruin, whereas Duke P、 ing of Chin fell sick, and 
his State suffered from a drought, it was not spook. The music- 
master iCuang had said that tlie States of those wlio had heard 
this tune before, were destroyed. Now the two States had both 
heard it before. 

How do we know tliat tlie new tune was not played by tlie 
music-master Yen'^ ― When Yen had jumped into tlie P", his body 
decomposed in the water, and liis vital essence dissolved in the 
mud. How could he still touch tlie lute? CJiii Yuan flung himself 
iato the river. He was as able a writer as Yen was a player of 
the guitar. If Yen could strike the lute again, tlieu Cli il Yuan would 

1 Some say that it is tlie spirit of wood. It is described as a bird with one 
wing, always carrying fire in its iiioiitli, and portending fire in the house where it 
appears. According to the Shan-hui-king it would be a bird like a crane, but with 
one leg, a green plumage adorned with red, and a white beak. 

2 A legendary person said by sonic to have been a iiiiiiister of Huang Ti. 
Cf. Cliap. XXXV. 

3 All the details about tlie assembly of gliosts are omitted in the Shi-chi. 

4 The same stoi'y, illustrative of tlie magical force of music, is told in a 
parallel passage of the Shi-chi, chap. 24, on music, p. 3!) seq. Since the text of the 
Lun-Jieng is fuller, 1 presume that Wami ( 'h'wuf did not quote tlie Shi-chi, but Imd 
an older source, prol>;il>ly the same, Ironi wliicli the Shi-chi lias copied. 

Spook Stories. 


liave been able to write again. When Yang Tse Yiln lamented Cli u 
Yuans death, wherefore did lie not show 】iis gratitude? While 
alive, Ch il Yuan was a very active writer, but he could not thank 
Yang Tse Yun^ because, wliea dead, he became mud and earth. His 
hand being rotten, he could not use it again to write. Since C/tii 
Yuan could not use his rotten haud to write, Yen could not thrum 
the guitar with his tainted thumb either. 

When Confucius was buried opposite to the Sse river, tlie Sse 
flowed backwards. They say that it was the spirit of Confucius which 
caused the Sse to flow backwards. Confucius "was very fond of 
teaching, just as Yen liked to play the lute. Provided that the 
music-master Yen could strike the lute on the banks of the P", 
Avliy could not Confucius teach in the vicinity of tlie Ssel 

Viscount Chien of Chao ^ was sick, and for five days did not 
know anybody. His high officers were alarmed, and then called 
Pien Ch、 He entered, inquired into tlie nature of the malady, 
and then went out again. Tung An Yil ^ asked him, aud Pien CJtio 
replied, " His blood circulation is all right, but it is strange. Form- 
erly Duke Mu of CJi in^ has been in such a state. After seven 
days lie awoke, and, when lie had recovered consciousness, he spoke 
to Kung Sun CIdh and Tse Yu''' saying, ' I liave been in God's 
abode. I was very happy, and 1 stayed away so long, because I 
was lucky enough to acquire some knowledge. God told me that 
the Chin State would be in convulsions for five generations and 
have 110 repose, aud that the next powerful prince would die, be- 
fore lie was old. Owing to tlie son of this inonarcli no distinction 
between men and women would be made in my country.' Kung Sun 
CIdh wrote it all down, and kept the paper in a trunk. Tlien 
ensued the revolution under Duke Hsien of Chin^^ the domination 
of Duke Wen^^ the victory of Duke Hsiang^ over tlie army of C/iin 

1 516-457 B.C. 

2 Pien Cliio is the honorary appellative of Cli in Yiiek Jen, a celebrated phys- 
ician who travelled from State to State. 

3 A minister of Viscount Chien, 

4 658-620 B.C. 

5 Officers of Ch'in, 

6 675-651 B.C. 

7 634-627 B.C. 

8 626-6-20 B.C. 


Lun-Heng: 6. Metaphysical. 

at Yao \ and liis weakness towards his worn an- folk on his march 
home.- The sickness of your prince is identical with this. Within 
three days it will cease, and then the patient will have something 
to say." 

When two days and a half had elapsed, Viscount CIden be- 
came conscious again, and said to his high officers, " I have been 
with God, and was very liappy. "With the spirits I roamed about 
lieaven, and enjoyed the liigliest bliss. The music and the dances 
there were different from the music of the three dynasties, and 
the sound went to heart. There was a brown bear preparing to 
seize me. God bade me shoot it; I hit tlie animal, and it died. 
Then a spotted bear attacked me: I hit it also, and it died. God 
was very mucli pleased, and presented me witli two caskets of the 
same contents. I then beheld a lad by God's side. God entrusted 
to me a TP dog and said, ' When your son lias grown up, give 
it to him.' God told me further, ' The Chin State is going to be 
destroyed; after ten generations * it will have disappeared. Some 
one of the family name of Ying^ will inflict a crushing defeat on 
tlie people of C/iou^ west of Fau-laiei、 but he will not keep the 
country all the same. Now I think of the merits of Shun, there- 
fore I will marry 】iis descendant. Ming Yao to your grandson of 
the tenth generation. ,,, ? 

Tung An Yil committed all these words to writing and kept 
tlie document. He informed Viscount Chien of what Pien Cltio had 

1 A defile in Hcman, 

2 On the battle of Yao which took place in 626 b.c. cf. Tso-chuan Duke Hsi, 
33 d year. The weakness of Duke H slang consisted in releasing his prisoners at 
the request of his mother, a princess of CKin, which was deeply resented by his 
officers. Yid, Chap. XL. 

3 Northern barbarians. A Ti dog was probably a huge Mongolian dog, 
resembling a St. Bernard, much bigger than the common Chinese dog. 

4 We ought to read " seven generations " as the Shi-chi does. The characters 
for seven and ten can be easily coiifomided, Chien s sickness took place in 500 b.c. 
under the reign of Duke Ting of (,Mn. From Duke Ting to the end of the Chin 
State, which in 375 broke up into the three manjuisates of Wee, Chao, and Han, 
there are only seven rulers, Ting^ included. Viscount Chien was a vassal of Duke 
Ting and ancestor of the later marquises and kings ol' Chao, 

;-' l ing was the family name of the viscounts of Chao, 

G This does not mean the people of the royal domain of Chou^ but the people 
of Wei {llonan)y whose princes were descended from a side branch of the royal 
house, their ancestor being Ivang Shu, a younger brother of the Emperor Wu ^Vanf/, 
After the extinction of (】hin, the Marquis Ckrny of ()hao conquered seventy-three 
towns from W eL 

7 It should be " of the .seventh generation," I'or King Wu Linff, who was 
married to Mrng J'uu, was a descendant of Viscount ( -hien in the seventh degree. 

Spook Stories, 


said. Chien Tse then made Pie" CKio a grant of forty thousand 
mou of land. 

Wlien, one day, Viscount Chien went out, a man stood in 
bis way. Though warned off, he did not go. The retinue weve 
going- to arrest him, when the man on the road said, " I wish to 
have an audieuce with His Lordship." The attendants informed 
Chien Tse, who called the man crying, " How delightful! I saw 
you in my rambles." ― " Send your attendants away," said the man 
on the road, " I would like to speak to you." When Chien Tse 
had dismissed his men, the man on the road continued, " Some 
time ago, when Your Lordship was sick, I was standing by God." ― 
" That is true," said Viscount Chien, " What did I do, when you 
saw me? " ― " God bade Your Lordship," replied the man on the 
road, " to shoot the brown and the spotted bears, which both were 
killed." ― " What does that mean," asked Chim Tse. ― " The Chin 
State," replied the man, " will be in extremities, and Your Lord- 
ship will take tlie lead. God ordered you to destroy the two 
ministers, for the brown and the spotted bears were their fore- 
fathers." "~ -" What does it mean," inquired the Viscount, " that God 
gave me two caskets both having the same contents ? " ― The man 
on tlie road said, " Your Lordship's sou will conquer two kingdoms 
in the Ti country, which will be named after him." ^ 一 " I perceived 
a lad near God, said Chien Tse, and God entrusted to me a Ti 
dog saying, ' When your son has grown up, give it to him.' Would 
my son be pleased to have such a dog ? " ― " That lad, rejoined 
tlie man, " is your sou, and tlie Ti dog is the ancestor of Tai. 
Your Lordsliip's son will get possession of Tai. Among your 
descendants there will be a change of government, they will 
wear Mongolian dress, and two States will be added to that of 
the Ti." 

Chien Tse asked the man's name and proposed to employ him 
ill an official capacity, but the raau on the road declined saying, 
" I am but a rustic and have delivered God's message." Then be 
disappeared. - 

What does this mean ? It was all spook, they say. The ex- 
planation of the things seen in God's presence, as given by the 
man on tlie road was the correct interpretation, and the man on 
the road himself an apparition. 

1 Tai and Chih. 

2 So far the story lias been quoted from the Shi-chi, chap. 43, p. 7 seq. 
Liin- Heng. 15 


Lun - Heiig : B. Metaphysical. 

Later on, the two ministers of Chin, Fan Wen Tse and Chung 
Hang Chao Tse mutinied. Viscount Chien attacked and routed them, 
and both fled to CJii. 

At that time Chien Tse had liis sons examined pliysiognomic- 
ally by Ku Pa Tse Cli iug. ^ None of tliem had any auspicious 
signs, but, when the physiognomist arrived at Wu Hsli, his son 
by his Ti wife, he declared him to be noble. Chien Tse conversed 
with liim, and discovered that he was very intelligent. Chien Tse 
then called all liis sons and said to them, " I liave hidden a pre- 
cious charm on Mount CKang.'^ He who first finds it, will be 
rewarded." All the sons ascended the mountain, but did not find 
anything. When Wxi Hsi'i returned, lie said that he had found the 
cliarm. Viscount CI den asked, how, " On Mount Cliang,'' replied 
Wu Hsil, "one is near Tai,^ wliicli mig'lit be acquired." ― Chien Tse 
thought him to be very clever, therefore he deposed the heir-ap- 
parent, and put Wu Hsu in his place. When Chien Tse died, Wu 
Hsil became his successor under the name of Viscount Ilsiang. ^ 

After Viscount Hsiang had come to power, lie instigated some- 
body to assassinate the king of Tai, and annexed liis territory, and 
likewise lie seized the territory of tlie Chih family.-^ Later on, lie 
married a Jung from IC ung-t\ing Ten generations after Chien Tse, 
came King Wu Ling.^ Wu Ching^ introduced to liim liis mother of 
the name of Ying and his daughter Meng Yao" Subsequently King 
Wu Ling seized Chung shan and annexed tlie Hu territory. In his 
nineteenth year King Wu Ling assumed the Hu dress, and liis sub- 
jects adopted the Hu customs. Everything liappened as predicted, 

1 Comp. p. 307. 

2 Another name for Mount Heng in Ta-tang-fu in North S/iansi. 

3 A Ti State occupying the confines of ISorth Shansi and Mongolia. 
* Cf. Shi-chi, chap. 43, p. 11 v. 

5 All earldom in the south of the Chin State. 

G Name of a mountain in Kansu and of an aboriginal tribe {Jung) settled there, 
- 7 It must be " seven generations." 

8 ^Au Ling's reign lasted from 325-299 b.c. 

'J In the Shi-chi, chap. 43, p. 19. Wu ('/miff is called Wu Kuang. He was a 
descendant of Shun. 

10 The passage seems to be corrupt. The Shi-chi says " Wu Kuang through 
his wife introduced (to the king) liis beautiful daughter Y ing Mcng I'ao." First a 
palace girl, Mmg Yao, some years later, was raised to the rank of a queen. See on 
this passage Chuvannes, M('m. Hisi. Vol. V, p. 68 Note 7. 

11 Originally a part of Chin, in the modern 'L'inrj-chou of Chili province. 

'2 These Ilu tribes were settled in the nortliern provinces : 一 f'hili, Shansi, 
Shemi, and Kansu. 

Spook Stories. 


and nothing was wrong. The supernatural lucky signs manifested 
by portents all proved true; so tliey say. 

All these things are not true. The lucky and unlucky omens 
happening one after the other were like manifestations of Heaven, 
but how do we know that, as a matter of fact, Heaven did not 
send any message? Because the man on the road was by God's 
side, for only spirits of tlie highest degree can keep near the Ruler 
of Heaven. Those wlio forward God's commands are the heavenly 
envoys. Tlie envoys of Imman princes are provided witli horses 
and carriages, and it would not be dignified for an envoy of the 
Ruler of Heaven to stand alone on the road. Of heavenly officials 
there are one liimdred and twenty, ^ who do not differ from those 
of the kings of the earth. The kings of the eartli have plenty of 
officials and attendants, who have received their power after the 
model of tlie heavenly officials. Since the officials of Heaven and 
Earth are alike, their envoys must resemble eacli other also, and, 
there being sucli a similarity, it is impossible that one man should 
have been so dissimilar. 

How do we know that God, whom Chien Tse saw, was not 
the real God? We know it from the interpretation of dreams. 
Towers, belvederes, hills, and mountains are images for an official 
post. When a man dreams of ascending a tower or a belvedere, 
or of mounting a liill or a mountain, lie will get an office. In 
reality a tower, a belvedere, a liill, or a mountain are not an of- 
ficial post. Hence we know that God, whom Viscount Ckien saw 
in his dream, was not tlie Ruler of Heaven. When an official 
dreams of a prince, this prince does not appear at all, nor does 
lie give presents to the official. Therefore the interpretation of 
dreams teaches us tliat God who gave Chien Tse two caskets and 
a Ti dog, was not the Supreme Ruler, Since it was not the Ruler 
of Heaven, the heaven over which Chien Tse roamed with the other 
ghosts, as he says, was not heaven. 

Shu Sun Mil Tse of Lu 2 dreamed that heaven fell down upon 
him. 3 If this had really been the case, lieaven would have drop- 
ped upon the earth, and approaching the earth, it would not have 
readied Shu Sun Mu Tse owing to the resistance offered by towers 
and terraces. Had it readied liim, then towers and terraces ought 
to have been demolished first. Towers and terraces were not de- 

1 The stars, considered as the officials of God, the Ruler of Heaven, and as 

2 A nobleman of the Lu State of the 6th cent. b.c. 

3 This dream is narrated iii the Tso-chuan, Duke CKao 4th year (537 b.c). 
• 15* 


Lun - Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

molished, therefore heaven did not descend upon the earth. Since 
it did not descend upon tlie earth, it could not reach him, and, 
since it did not reach liim, that which fell down upon him was 
not heaven, but an effigy of heaven. As tlie heaven which fell 
down upon Shu Sun Mu Tse in liis dream was not the real heaven, so the 
heaven througli wliicli Chien Tse had been roving was not lieaven. 

Some one might object that we also have direct dreams, in- 
somuch as we dream of so-and-so, and on the next day see liim 
or, as we dream of a gentleman, whom we see on tlie following 
day. I admit that we can have direct dreams, but these direct 
dreams are semblances, and only these semblances are direct, which 
will become evident from the following fact. Having a direct dream, 
we dream of so-and-so, or of any gentleman, and, on tlie following 
day, see Mr. So-and-so, or the gentleman in question. Tliat is direct. 
But, when we ask so-and-so or that gentleman, tliey will reply 
tliat they liave not appeared to us in our dreams. Since tliey did 
not appear, the persons we saw in our dreams were merely tlieir 
likenesses. Since so-and-so ami tlie said gentleman were likenesses, 
we liiiow that God, as perceived by Chien Tse, was solely a sem- 
blance of God. 

The oneirocritics say that, wlien a man dreams, his soul goes 
out. Accordingly, when lie sees God in a dream, tlie soul asceuds 
to lieaven. Ascending to heaven is like going up a mountain. When 
we dream of ascending a mountain, our feet climb up tlie mountain, 
and our Land uses a stick ; then we rise. To mount up to lieaven 
there are no steps, liow should we rise then ? The distance from 
heaven to us amounts to upwards of ten thousand li. A man on 
a journey uses to travel one hundred li daily. As long as the soul 
is united to the body, it cannot move very rapidly, liow mucli less, 
when it walks alone ! Had the soul moved with the same speed 
as the body, Chien Tse would liave required several years for liis 
ascension to lieaven and his return. Now, lie a, woke after seven 
days, and became conscious again. How could the time be so short? 

The soul is tlie vital fluid; the movement of tlie vital fluid is 
like that of clouds and fog, and cannot be very quick. Even if the 
soul moved like a flying bird, it would not be very rapid. Some- 
times people dream that tliey are flying; tlie (lying is done by tlie 
soul, but it could not be quicker than the flight of a bird. Tliat 
fluid ol" heaven and eartli wliidi possesses the greatest speed is the 
storm, y(、t a storm does not blow a wliole day. Provided tliat the 
soul were flying like the stonn, its speed would not last longer than 
one day, and it would be unable to reach lieaven. 

Spook Stories. 


When a mau dreams that lie ascends to heaven, it is during 
the short span, while lie lies down. At his awakening, lie is per- 
haps still in lieaveu, and not yet descended, as a person, dreaming 
of having arrived at Loyang, still finds himself in Loyang, when 
roused. How can the flight of the soul be deemed quick? Rapidity 
is not in its nature, consequently the ascension to heaven was not 
real. Not being real, it must liave been a supernatural omen. The 
mau on the road, perceived by Viscount C/iien in his sickness by- 
God's side and subsequently met on the road, speaking like a man, 
was the same with the one whom lie had seen near God. There- 
fore the explanation tliat a dream (luring the sleep is a state of 
obscuration, which can be interpreted, when the sleeper awakes to 
light again, is quite correct. 

When Viscount Hsiang of CJiao had been appointed, ^ the Earl 
of Chih became more and more arrogant. He asked land of Han 
and 1T》?:,2 wliioli Han and Wei gave him. Then lie made the same 
demand to Cha.o, but Chao refused. This roused his anger to such 
a degree, that with troops of Han and Wei he assaulted Hsiang Tse 
of Chao. Viscount Hsiang alarmed fled to Chin-yang,^ and sought 
shelter there. Yuan Kuo followed him. When he had arrived at 
the post-town of T'o-p ing,'^ he beheld three men, 、vho from the 
belt upwards were visible, but invisible from the belt downwards. 
They handed two joints of bamboo, still unopened, to Yuan Kuo 
saying. " Forward this for us to Wu Hsil of Ckao." ^ Upon this he 
told Hsiang Tse. Hsiang Tse first having fasted three days, person- 
ally cut open the bamboo, which contained a red letter reading as 
follows : 一 " TTw Hm of Chao ! We are the Huo-t'ai Mountain,^ tlie 
Marquis of Yang, and the Son of Heaven.' On the ping-hsi'i day of 
the third moon, we will cause you to destroy Chih, and, provided 
that you sacrifice to us in a hundred cities, we will also give the 

1 In 456 B.C. (cf. above p. 226). 

2 1. e. the viscounts of Han and Wei, who together with those of Chao had 
usurped the power in Chin. 

3 Near T'ai-yuan-fu in Shami. 

4 The Shi-chi calls this place Wang-tse, which was situated in Chiang-chou 

5 The personal name of Viscount Hsiang (cf. p. 226). 

G A mountain in Yung-an-hsien (Shansi) Ho-tung circuit. 

' The reading of the Shi-chi: ― " Marquis of Shan-yang (name of city) and 
Envoy of Heaven "' seems preferable. 


Lun -Heng : B. Metaphysical. 

territory of the Lin Hu^ to you." ― Hsi.ang Tse made obeisance again, 
and accepted the commands of the spirits. 

Wliat does that mean? This was an augury of Hsiung Tse' s 
future victory. The three States were beleaguering Chiu-yang for 
over a year. Tliey diverted the Fen - and flooded the town, so that 
only three blocks ^ of the city wall were not submerged. Viscount 
Hsiang frightened sent his minister Chang Meng T^an to open secret 
negotiations with Han and Wei. They made an agreement with him, 
and on the ping-hsii day of the third month they completely an- 
nihilated Chih, and divided liis country among them,* ― Therefore 
the fluid of the supernatural portent was shaped like a man, and 
called itself tlie spirit of the Huo-iai Mountain, as the apparitions 
in tlie Hsia palace had the form of dragons, and called themselves 
Princes of Pao.^ Chien Tse's omen had human shape, and pretended 
to be an envoy of God. 

How do we know that it was not the spirit of the Huo-tai 
Mountain? Because a high mountain is a formation of the earth 
just as bones and joints are of the human body. How can bones 
and joints be spiritual? If the high mountain had a spirit, it should 
be shaped like a liigli mountain. What people call ghosts is ilie 
essence of the departed, in appearance they are formed like living 
men. Now tlie liigli mountain was broad and long, and not at 
all like a man, but its spirit did not differ from a man. Such being 
the case, the ghost resembled a man, and since it was like a man, 
it must have been the fluid of a supernatural portent. 

In the 36th year of the reign of CKin Shih Huang Ti^ Mars 
olFuscated the constellation of the Heart, and a star fell down. 
When it readied the earth, it became a stone, on wliicli were en- 
graved the following words : ― " CKin Shih Huang T* will die, and his 
land will be divided." 

1 A subdivision of the Hu tribes, probably Mongols. 

2 A tributary of the Huang -ho. 

3 One "pan" ;^^, block is said to measure 8 feet. The Shi-chi, chap. 43, 
p. 13, writes : j 饭. 

* So far the narration has been culled with some omissions and alterations 
from the Shi-chi, chap. 43, p. 12 v. seq. 

r' When the Ilsia dynasty had begun to decline, two divine dragons niado 
their appearance in the imperial palace, and said that tlicy were two princes of Pao. 
Cf. Shi-chi, chap. 4, p. 2F) (Chavannes, Mrm. Vol. I, p. 281) which quotes the Kuo-yu. 

f' 211 B.C. 

Spook Stones. 


Wlieu CJiin Shih Huang Ti heard of it, he ordered a censor to 
interrogate tlie people one by one, but nobody would confess. Where- 
upon the emperor bad all the people living near the stone arrested 
and put to death. The weird stone lie then caused to be des- 
troyed by fire. 

When his ambassador, coming from Tung-Iciian, * had passed 
Hua-yin - at night-time, and come into the open country, a man 
with a jade badge in his hands happened to block his passage. 
" Transmit this to tlie prince of the Hao Lake^ for me," said 
the man, and went on saying, " This year the dragon ancestor 
will die.' 

The ambassador was just going to ask him for particulars, 
when the man disappeared, leaving his badge. This tlie ambassador 
took, and apprized the emperor of everything. CKin Shih Huang Ti 
kept silent for a loug while, then he exclaimed, " The spirit of the 
mountain knows only the affairs of one year. The dragon an- 
cestor, of whom lie speaks, must be a forefather, however." He 
then gave orders to the imperial household to examine the badge. 
They ascertained that it was a badge which had been thrown into 
the Yangtse, wliile it was crossed in the 28th year of the emperor's 
reign.* The next year, the 37tli of his reign, he had a dream that 
he was fighting with the spirit of the ocean, which was shaped 
like a man.^ 

What does this mean? All these were auguries of CKin Shih 
Huang Tis impending death. Having dreamt that lie was trying 
conclusions with the spirit of the ocean, lie entered into tlie sea 
in high dudgeon, waiting for the spirit, and shot at a huge fish. 
From Lang-yeh^ to the Lao and Cli eng Mountains' he did not per- 
ceive any, but having arrived at tlie Chefoo Mountain,^ he again came 

1 A place at the bend of the Yellow River in Shensi. 
- A town half-way between Tung-kuan and Hsi-an-fu. 

3 The Hao Lake was near Hsi-an-fu. the capital of Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, 
who is meant by the prince of the lake. 

4 219 B.C. 

5 The foregoing are extracts from the Shi-chi, chap. 6, p. 24 v. seq. 

6 On the south coast of Shnntung. 

' 勞成 山. The Shi-chi wr'ites Yung-ch'f'nff 榮成山 (Joe. dt. p. 28). 
The L((o shan and the CKmg shan are two high mountain ranges in Chi-mo [Kiao- 
chmt) reaching to the sea. The T.u - shih fang yii chi y(io, chap. 36 rejects the reading 
】 w/j^ cAVwy. The mountains must have been on the sea-shore, north of Lang ~y eh and 
south of ( liefuo, for this was the way taken by the emperor, as results from Lun- 
hing Bk. IV, 9 {Shu-hsii) and Bk. XXVI, 1 {Shih-chih). 

s The fliefoo Promontory, foniiing tlie harbour of the treaty-port Chefoo. 


Liin-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

in view of enormous fishes, of which he killed one by a shot with 
his arrow. 1 Hence he proceeded along the sea-shore as far as P'ing- 
yuan ^ ford, where lie was taken ill. When he had reached Sha- 
cJi iu,^ lie collapsed and breathed his last. 

At the time of tlie falling star, Mars provoked the unlucky 
augury, therefore tlie people dwelling near tlie stone cut char- 
acters into it, as tliougli tliey had done so purposely. The in- 
scription was to the effect that Cliin Shih Huang Ti was going to die 
or to he killed. The queer sayings of children, of wliicli we hear 
sometimes, are likewise not of their own invention, but they have 
been inspired by some force. All such supernatural apparitions are 
either ghosts shaped like men, or men behaving like ghosts, Tlie 
principle is the same in both cases. 

Cliung Erh, prince of Chin's having lost his country, had nothing' 
to eat on his journey.^ He asked some labourers on the field for 
food, but they gave him a clod of earth. ? The prince became an- 
gry, but Chiu Fan said to him, " This is very auspicious. Hea ven 
grants you earth and land.""^ Subsequently tlie prince reconquered 
liis country, and was re-instated upon his soil, as Chiu Fan ^ had 

T^ien Tan of ChU,io defending the city of Chi-mo," wished to 
deceive the army of Yen, therefore he said that the Spirit of Heaven 
had come down to help him. A man stepped forward and declared 
that he could act as the Spirit. T^ien Tan then went and still made 
obeisance before him. And, in fact, the rumour tliat a spirit had 
come down, spread among tlie soldiers of Yen. They believed in 
the spirit, and, when still further tliey had viewed the oxen shining 
in five colours, tliey became so alarmed by this belief, that the army 

1 According to the Shi-chi the emperor shot those big fishes with a repeutiny 
cross-bow {lien-nu) j ljjf , (on which cf. my article on tlie Chinese Cross-bow hi 
Verhandlunyen der Berliner Gesellschaft fur Anthropulogie 189G, p. 272). 

2 In the Chi-nan-fu prefecture, Shantung. 

3 In Shun-te-fu {(Jhili). 

4 As though under a spell or a charm, which is the supernatural. 

5 Later Duke Wen of Chin, 634-627 b.c. 

6 Banished from Chin, he lived for many years in other States. 

7 This happened in Wei, whose prince liad treated him discourteously. 

8 Cf. Tso-chuan, Duke Hsi 23d year, where the incident is told, though with 
other words. 

9 Called Tse Fan in the Tso-chuan. 

'(' An official of Ch'i, wlio delivered his country from the invading army of 
Yen, in the 3rd cent. b.c. 

' ' City in Shantung, near Kiao-chou. 

Spook Stories. 


was discomfited, and the soldiers routed.^ T'ien Tan gained the 
victory, and could recover the lost territory. In these apparitions 
there were men resembling ghosts. 

When tlie ambassador passed Hua-yin, an individual, with a 
jade badge in his hands, blocked liis passage, and went away, 
leaving him the badge. This was a ghost in human shape. The 
jade badge had been thrown into the Yangise for the purpose of 
praying for liappiness. Now, tlie badge was returned, wliicli showed 
that the offer was not accepted, and tliat happiness could not be 

The badge was like that which formerly had been submerged, 
but it was not really tlie same for the following reason. When a 
ghost appears in human shape, it is not a genuine man. If people, 
after having seen a ghost looking like a living man, thoroughly 
question other living men, tliey will find out that none of them 
have come to see them Consequently a supernatural force has ap- 
peared to them ill human form. Since this force has merely taken 
Imraan shape, the things carried by the apparition cannot be real 
things either. 

By the dragon ancestor, which was to die, Ch^in Shih Huang 
Ti was designated. Ancestors are tlie root of mankind, aud a dragon 
is an image of a sovereign. If there be a resemblance between man 
aud other creatures, a disaster concerning one part likewise affects 
the other. 2 ' 

In the year of ChU.n Shih Huang Ti's death the Emperor Han 
Kao Tsu was a village-elder in Sse-shang, As such lie had to escort 
convicts to the Li^ Mountain, but most of them escaped on the 
road. Kao Tsu then allowed those lie liad still in his power to 
run away, which they did never to return. Kao Tsu, who was 
under the influence of liquor, was continuing his journey through 

1 THen Tan used a similar stratagem as Hannibal. During the night he 
fantastically dressed 1000 oxen, tied sharp blades to the horns and greased rushes 
to their tails, and lighting these rushes let them loose against the euemy, who were 
taken by surprise and completely beaten by the men of Yen following in the rear. 
Vid. the biography of TUen Tan in the Shi-chi, chap. 82, p. 3. 

2 Therefore the death of the dragon implies the end of the emperor. 

3 、/四 上. The Shi-chi chap. 8, p. 2 v. writes Sse-shui 洒 水, which was a 
district in the present Yen-chou~fu [Shantung). 

* A mountain near Cliin Shih Huang Ti's mausoleum in Shan si, which was 
built by convicts. 


Lun-Heng: B. Metapliysical. 

a marsh at night, and liad ordered a man to keep in front. This 
man came back and reported that there was a big snake in front, 
obstructing the way, and besouglit liim to go back. 

" What does a valiant warrior fear?," asked Kao Tsu inebriated, 
and he went forward, drew liis sword, and with one stroke cut 
the snake in two. The path was free then. : After he had pro- 
ceeded still several miles, liis intoxication caused him to fall asleep. 

When Kao Tsu's companions arrived at tlie place, where tlie 
snake was lying, tliey found there an old woman crying over it in 
the silence of night. They asked her, wlierefore slie cried. " A man 
has killed my son," replied the old woman. ― " How was your son 
killed?," asked the men. ― " My son," said tlie woman, " the son of 
the White Emperor, was transformed into a snake to keep watch 
on the path. Now the son of the Red Emperor lias slain him, 
therefore I cry." ― Tlie men thought that tlie old woman was telling 
spook stories, and were going to give her a flogging, when the old 
woman suddenly disappeared.^ 

What does this signify? It was a felicitous omen of Kao Tsu's 
rising to power. The old woman suddenly vanished. Since she 
became invisible, she cannot have been a human being, and not 
being human, she must have been a spectre. Since the old dame 
was not human, it is plain that the slain serpent was not a snake. 
The old woman spoke of it as tlie son of the White Emperor, but 
why did he become a snake, and block tlie road at night? She 
asserted that tlie serpent was the son of the White Emperor and 
Kao Tsu that of the Red Emperor. Thus the son of the White 
Emperor would have become a snake, and the son of the Red Em- 
peror, a man, whereas the Five Planetary Emperors ^ are all heavenly 
spirits. In one case the son would have grown a serpent, in tlie 
other, a man. Men and snakes are different creatures, whereas the 
Emperors all belong to the same class of beings. The human state 
of those sons would not be conformable to the laws of heaven. 

And further, if the snake 、vas the son of the White Emperor, 
was the old woman the White iMiipress ptn'lia'ps? An empress must 
liavp her suite in front and behind, and an imperial ])rince, a large 

' The story is quoted from tlie Shi-c/ii, chap. S, p, 5. It is meant as a pro- 
phecy of tlic overthrow of the C/i'in dyiiasly I)y that of TLin. Tlie Ch'in used metal, 
to which tlic wliitc colour corresponrled, as the syiiiliol of their power, whereas the 
I Inn relied on fire, wliioli lias a red colour. Accoi'diiig to Chinese symbolism fire 
overcomes metal, ergo tlic Ch'in were dooinod to ho overpowered by the Ilan. 

2 The Five Planets which from ancient times were worshipped as deities. 
Tlic Red Emperor is Mnrs, tlie Wliite Emperor Venus. 

Spook Stories, 


retinue of officials. Now, the snake died on the pathway, and an 
old woman (; ried on the road I This makes it evident that her 
statement about the son of the White Emperor was not true. Not 
beino- a real prince, it was a semblance, and being a semblance, it 
was an apparition. Consequently, everything seen was not genuine, 
and not being genuine, it was a fluid. The serpent slain by Kao 
Tm was not a serpent. 

When Duke Li of Cli^eng'^ was on the point of entering into 
his dukedom, 2 a snake in tlie city was fighting with one outside 
the city," but they were not genuine snakes. It was a supernatural 
force marking Duke Lis entrance into Clieng under tlie form of 
contending snakes. The fighting serpents of the Clieng State were 
not snakes, hence we infer that the two dragons in tlie Hsia palace * 
were merely images of dragons likewise. Such being the case, we 
are convinced that the dragons, which were fighting during Tse Ck an 
of Cheng's time's have not been dragons. 

The ways of Heaven are bard to understand. There are ap- 
paritions, when things are all right, and there are also some, when 
things go wrong. 

Chang Liang ^ Marquis of Liu, dealt a blow at CJiin Shih Huang 
Ti with a club, but by mistake hit one of the chariots of his retinue.^ 
Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, infuriated, gave orders to search for Chang Liang 
eveiywliere, but he changed 】iis name and concealed himself in Hsia- 
pei,'' Avhere he had always leisure to stroll about at pleasure. Up 
the river Sse, & there was an old man in coarse clothes, who came 
to Chang Liang s place. He had just lost one shoe down the river, 
therefore lie said to Chang Liang, " Go clown, and fetch me my shoe, 
my boy." 一- Chang Liang grew angry, and was going to give him a 

1 699-694 B.C. 

2 Duke Li had been forced to quit his country. 

3 Cf. Tso-chuan, Duke Chuang 14th year. The snake inside the city was killed. 

4 Vid. above p. 230. 

5 The Tso-chuan, Duke Ch'ao 10th year (522 b.c.) relates:—" There were 
great floods in Cheng ; and some dragons fought in the pool of VTei. outside the Shi 
gate. The people asked leave to sacrifice to them ; but Tse Ch'an refused it, saying, 
' If we are fighting, the dragons do not look at us; when dragons are fighting, why 
should we look at them? ' {Leffge Vol.V, P. 11, p. 675) . 

6 Chang Liang had engaged a bravo to deal the blow with an iron club or 
mallet weighing 120 pounds. 

7 In the modern P'ei-chou of Kiangsu province. 

8 Instead of Sse 《四 the Shi-chi writes : ― " i " J^, the " bridge." 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

beating, but noticing, how strong tlie old man looked, he repressed 
his feelings, and went down to fetch the shoe, which he offered 
liiin on his knees. The old man slipped it on his foot, and went 
a、vay laughing. Chang Liang felt greatly excited. 

When the old man had gone to about a Li's distance, he 
returned. "You can be taught, my boy," he said, " Five days hence, 
at sunrise, meet me here." Chang Liang bewildered, knelt down and 
assented. After five days, at sunrise CI tang Liang went, but the old 
gentleman Lad already arrived before him. " Why must you come 
later, when you have an appointment with an old man?," asked he 
angrily. " Five days after my departure, very early, we will meet 
again." 一 After five days Chang Liang went again at cockcrow, but 
again the old man had arrived before, and repeated his angry 
question, wherefore he had arrived later. " Five days after 
I have left," said he, "come again very early." 一 On the fifth 
day Chang Liang went before midnight, and after a short while 
the old gentleman arrived. " So you are right," said lie, very- 

He then produced a pamphlet, which he gave him saying, 
"Read it, and you will become preceptor to an emperor. After thirteen 
years you will see me. A yellow stone at the foot of Mount Ku- 
cKeng in CJi i-pei ^ that is I." Whereupon lie went away, saying 
nothing further, and was not seen again. At dawn Chang Liang 
looked at the book. It was " T^ai Kung's'^ Strategy." Chang Liang 
amazed, studied it very thoroughly.^ 

What was this ? An augury of Kao Tsus elevation by Chang 
Liang's assistance. Chang Liang lived ten years at Hsia-pei as a 
knight and a hero. When CKen She* and liis confederates rose in 
revolt, and tlie Governor of P^el^ visited TIsia-pel, Chang Liang joined 
them. Subsequently, he was made a general and eunobled with 
tlie title Marquis of Liu. Thirteen years later, when with Kao Tsu 
he crossed the Clii-jjei territory, he found a yellow stone at the 
foot of Mount Ku-clienf). He took it, stored it away, and worshipped 
it, and, when lie died, it was buried with him. 

' 111 Tung-o district {Shantung). 

2 The lielpmate of Wen Wanr/, who had been invested witli the marquisate 
of ( 7i i in Shantung (cf. p. 172). 

3 The story is quoted from Cltnng Liang's Biograpliy in tlie Shi-chi, chap. 55, 
J). 1 V" l)iit somewhat abridged. 

A simple soldier wlio in 209 B.r. brought about an iiisuiTCCtioii against Erh 
Shih HvdTiff Ti, and assumed the title of a king of Ch'u. 

5 Liu Pang 二 Kao Tm, at that time still governoi" of P'ei in Kianym. 

Spook Stories. 

This yellow stone was a supernatural transformation conveying 
an omen. The metamorphoses of heaven and earth are most in- 
genious, for is it not wonderful to make an old man take the form 
of a yellow stoue, and a yellow stone tlie form of an old man? 

Some one might ask, whether the yellow stone was really an 
old man, and the old man really a yellow stone. A yellow stone 
cannot become an old man, nor an old man a yellow stone. The 
appearance of" a supernatural portent made it look so. 

During the time of Duke P'ing of Chin: a stone spoke in Wei- 
yii; The duke asked the music-master K'uang, why the stone had 
spoken. "A stone cannot speak," was the reply. " Perhaps it was 
possessed by a spirit, otherwise the people have heard wroug." ^ 

A stone cannot utter human speech, and so it cannot take 
human shape. The speaking of the stone is not different from the 
falling' down of the stoue in Tung-cli iin * in CKin Sliih Huang Ti's 
time, which was engraved by the people. Engraving gives an in- 
scription, and talking, speech. Script and speech fall under tlie same 
law. Tlie people engraved the inscription, aud a force made the 
speech. The nature of the people and the force is the same. A 
stone cannot engrave itself, nor can it talk, and not being able to 
talk, it cannot become a man either. " T、 ai Kung' s Strategy " was 
formed by the force. How do we know that it was not real ? Be- 
cause the. old man was not a man, whence we infer that the book 
was not T^ai Kimg's Strategy either. Since the force could take 
the likeness of a living man, it could liken itself to T^ai Kung's 
Strategy too. 

The question may be raised, how a force could write characters, 
having neither knife nor pencil.— When Chung Tse, wife to, Duke 
Hui of Iju, was born, she had on her palm tlie words : 一 " Future 
princess of JLu." T^ang Shu Yu of Chin bore on his hand the char- 
acter Yii, and CK eng Chi Yo of Lu the character Yo.^ These three 
inscriptions have been written by a spontaneous nature, and thus 
the force had composed the old man's book of itself. The spon- 
taneous nature and the self-producing force must be classed together 
with the self-speaking queer sayings of children. When children 
utter such strange things, tliey do not know, where they got them 

1 556-531 B.C. 

2 A city in modern T'ai-yuan-fu {Shansi). 

3 Tso-chuan, Duke Ch'ao 8th year {Legge Vol.V, Pt. II, p. 622). 

4 Circuit comprising the northern part of Honan, north of K'ai-Jeng-fu. 

5 See above p. 230. 

6 Cf. p. 95. 


Lun -Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

from, their mouths speak of themselves. Tlie self-speaking mouths 
and the self-produced writing are the active agents so to say. This 
argument may serve as a cue for the better understanding of 
other events. 

T\d Kung angling caught a big fish, and, wlien lie cut it open, 
there was a letter in it reading, Lil Shang ^ will be invested witli 
Ch:i." At Wu Wang's time, one cauglit a white fisli, marked under 
its tiiroat with the words, " Give it to Fa.'' ^ There was truth in 
all this. In fine, the " Plan of tlie Yellow River " and the " Scroll 
of tlie Lo,, 3 indicated the rise and fall, the progress and the 
decline, and the opportunities of emperors and kings. There cer- 
tainly have been such writings. They were apparitions caused by 
a supernatural force and lucky or unlucky omens. 

1 The surname of T'ai Kung, Wen Wang's associate, who later on became 
prince of CKi. 

2 The personal name of Wu Wang. 

3 Cf. p. 295. 

All about Ghosts. 


All about Ghosts [Ting-kuei). 

Tlie ghosts tliat are in the world arc not the vital spirits of 
the dead, they are evoked by intense thinking and meditating. 
Where do tliey originate? 一 With sick people. When people are 
sick, they are incliued to melanclioly and easily frightened. lu this 
state of mind tliey see ghosts appear. People wlio are not sick, 
are not apprehensive. Thus, when sick people lying on tlieir pillows 
are haunted "vvitli fears, gliosts appear. Their fears set tliem ponder- 
ing, and wlien they do so, tlieir eyes have visions. How can we 
prove this? 

Po Lo ' was learning to distinguish liorses : everything he saw, 
when sight-seeing, took the form of horses. A cook in Sung was 
learning to dissect an ox. For three years he did not perceive a 
livipg ox, those he saw were all dead ones."- These two men 
strained their mental powers to the utmost. By dint of thinking 
and pondering tliey came to have strange visions. Sick men seeing 
gliosts are like Po Lo seeing horses or the cook seeing oxen. What 
Po TjO and tlie cook saw, were not real horses or oxen. Hence we 
know that the visions of the sick are not real ghosts either. 

When sick people have a severe attack, and feel much pain 
in tlieir bodies, they believe that gliosts witli bamboos and sticks 
beat them, and have the impression that gliosts with liammers, 
locks, and cords are standing by tlieir side, watching. These are 
empty visions caused by pain and fear. When tliey first feel iU, 
tliey become alarmed, and see ghosts coming. When their disease 
grows more violent, that they fear to die, they see tlie ghosts in- 
censed, and, when tliey feel pain, they have the idea that the ghosts 
are beating them. It is nothing but the effect of too much ponder- 
ing, but there is no reality. 

When the vital fluid ^ is thinking or meditating, it flows into 
the eyes, the mouth, or tlie ears. When it flows into the eyes, the 

1 A somewhat legendary character, mentioned by Chuang Tse chap. 9, p. 1. 

2 For more details on this famous cook or butcher see Chuang Tse chap. 3, p. 1. 

3 We might translate mental fluid, for here the mental functions of the vital 
fluid are referred to, which is the bearer of life as well as the originator of mind, 
animus and aniina. 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

eyes see shapes, wlien it flows into tlie ears, the ears hear sounds, 
and, when it flows into the mouth, tlie mouth speaks something. 
At day-time ghosts appear, at night, during sleep, they arc heard 
in dreams. If a person sleeping quite alone in a lonely house is 
nervous, he will see ghosts in his dreams, and, if anybody puts 
liis hands on liim, he will scream. What we see, while awake, or 
liear, while asleep, is all tlie work of our spirit, of fears and thoughts, 
which amounts to the same. 

There is an opinion that, when people see ghosts, their vision 
and their sleep are disturbed. If during the day their vigour is 
worn out, and their vital force exhausted, they desire to sleep at 
night. While they are asleep, their vision is distorted, hence their 
spirit perceives the images of men and things. When a person is 
sick, his vigour is worn out, and his vital force exhausted likewise. 
Although his eyes may not be asleep, their seeing power is still 
more disturbed than if they were. Consequently they also behold 
the shapes of men and tilings. 

Tlie sick see things, as if they were asleep. If they were not 
like dreaming, tliey ought to know, when they see something, 
whether they are awake, or dreaming. Since they are unable to 
distinguish, whether, what they see, are ghosts or men, it is evident 
that their vital force is exhausted, and their vigour worn out. The 
following will corroborate this. 

Madmen see ghosts. They are mentally deranged, speak to 
themselves, and keep away from sane people, all owing to the severe 
form of their disease, and tlie disturbance of their vital Ibrce. When 
people are sick, and about to die, they are very much like madmen. 
All the three states: ― sleep, sickness, and insanity are accompanied 
by a decay of the vital force and a disturbance of vision. Hence 
all those people have visions of men and things. 

Others say that ghosts are apparitions of the fFuid of sickness. 
This fluid being stirred up strikes ; i gainst other people, and by doing 
so becomes a ghost. It imitates the human shape, and becomes 
visible. Thus, when tlie lluid of very sick persons is in a state of 
excitement, it appears in human form, and the sick see it in this 
form. In case they fall sick in mountains and forests, the ghosts 
they see will be the essence those mountains and forests, and, 

All about Ghosts. 


if their sickness breaks out in Yiieh, they will behold people of that 
country sitting by their side. Accordingly, ghosts like that of Kit an 
Fu and Tou Ying^ were apparitions of that particular time. 

The fluid of this world is purest in heaven. The heavenly 
signs - present certain forms ^ above, ami their fluid descends, and 
produces tilings. When the fluid is harmonious in itself, it pro- 
duces and develops things, when it is not, it does injury. First it 
takes a form in heaven, then it descends, and becomes corporeal 
on earth. Hence, when ghosts appear, they are made of this stellar 
fluid. The bodies of the stars form men, beasts, and birds. Con- 
sequently sick people see the sliapes of men, beasts, and birds. 

Some maintain that ghosts are the essence of old creatures. 
When creatures grow old, their essence forms a human being, but 
there are also those, wliicli by tlieir nature can be transformed, be- 
fore they are old, and then take a human shape. If the fluid a maa 
is endowed with, is the same as the essence of another creature,* 
there will be some relation between him and this creature, and, 
when it becomes sick, and its vital fluid begins to decline, it fulls 
in with that person as a ghost. How can we prove that? 

Those creatures which people usually have to do with, ap- 
pear to tliem as ghosts, for what difference is there between the 
ghosts seen by sick people and those sick creatures? If people see 
gliosts resembling a dead man in liis grave, who is coming to meet 
and call them, it is one of the domestic animals in their houses. 
If tliey see other ghosts, unknown to them previously, those ghosts 
are caused by other people's animals e. g. those in the open fields. 

According to another opinion ghosts originally live in men, 
and, when they cease to be men, they are transformed and dis- 
appear. The organisation of the universe is such, that these trans- 
formations take place indeed, but the votaries of Taoism cannot 
discuss this subject, 

1 See p. 217. 

2 The stars. 

3 The constellations. 

* This seems to refer to the animals connected with the twelve cyclical signs 
(cf. p. 106). A man born under one of these signs is supposed to have been imbued 

with the same essence as the corresponding animal has. 

:' Their views are too phaiitastic, as can be seen from their works. 

l-uu - Heiig. 16 


Lun -Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

That whicli assaults men, is sickness. Sick people are doomed 
to die, but the deceased do not give up all intercourse with men. 
This will become clearer from the following: 

The Liki tells us that Chuan Ilsii ^ had three sons living who, 
wlien tliey dit、(l, became tlie ghosts of epidemics. One living in the 
water of the Yangtse, became the Ghost of Fever, the second in the 
Jo - was a Water Spirit, the third, dwelling in the corners of palaces 
and houses, and in clamp store-rooms, would frighten cliildreu.^ An- 
terior to Chuan Ilsii s time tliere liave been more sons living, con- 
sequently there must have been hundreds of spirits like those of 
Chuan Hsiis time. All spirits and ghosts possess a body, and tliere 
is a method 化 make tliem stand upright. Those who meet with 
people have all lived in good men, and acquired their fluid, hence 
it! their a])[)earance they are like good men. That which can injure 
the good is the fluctuating Yang and Yin fluid, as a fluid like that 
of the clouds and vapours it could not do so. 

Another idea is that ghosts are the spirits of tlie first and 
second cyclical signs.'* These spirits are a peculiar fluid of lieaven. 
In their shapes they appear like Iminaii beings. When a niaii is 
sick, and about to die, the spirit of the first and second day ma Ives 
its appearance. Provided that somebody falls sick on the first or 
second clay, lie will perhaps see the spirit of the seventh or eighth, 
when he dies. Why? Because the ghost of the first ami second 
day is the messenger of the seventh and eighth, therefore tlie person 
is taken ill on the first and second, and Avlien liis end is near, and 
the ghost tliat destroys him appears, it is tlie. spirit of the seventh 
and eiglitli. This is evident from the fact that for a malady, that 
broke out on the first -or second day, the crisis which decides on 
life and death, sets in on the sevcntli or tlio eighth. 

Critics do not accept this view as correct. However, the ways 
of Heaven are difficult to understand, and ghosts and spirits ab- 
scond and hide. Therefore 1 have noted all tlie (lifTmi'nt opinions, 
that ray contemporaries may judge for themselves. 

1 A legendary ruler of the 26th cent. b.c. 

2 According to the "Water Classic a river in the soutli-east of China. 

:* Tlii.s passage is not to be found in our Liki. According to the Pei-trfn- 
yun-fu it is contained in the Sou-slim- chi (4th cent, a.d.). 
4 The signs chia and yL 

All about Ghosts. 


Some say that ghosts are creatures in no way different from 
1110 11.' There are spiritual beings in the world, usually staying be- 
yond the frontiers, but from time to time coming to China, and 
mixing witli men. These are malignant and wicked spirits, hence 
they aj)[)ear to men, who are sick, and going to die. As a being- 
created in this 、vorld man is like a beast or a bird. When demons 
arc created, tliey also resemble men, or are like beasts or birds. 
Tlius, unhappy families see corpses flying about, or crawling dem- 
ons, or beings like men. All three are gliosts, tliey may be styled 
ghosts or demons, goblins or devils. Tliey really exist, as long 
as tliey are, and are not empty, formless beings. Hoav do we 
know ? 

Commonly people who will be visited with misfortune see a 
ray of light descending on their homes, or tliey perceive soraetliiag 
having the shape of a bird flittiug several times into tlieir hall, 
but on looking carefully, they discover that it is not like a bird, 
or au animal. Creatures having a body can eat; by eating tliey 
acquire activity, and, if tliey give signs of activity, their body must 
be real. 

Tso CKiu Ming says in his C/iun-cJi in: i 一 " They were banished 
into the four frontier States to repulse tlie goblins and devils," - 
and the Shan-hai-king reports that in tlie Nortli tliere is the Kingdom 
of the Gliosts. 3 They say that goblins are dragon-like creatures. 
Devils are also related to dragons, therefore tliey must resemble 
dragons. Moreover, a kingdom is defined as a congregation of men 
and other creatures. 

The SItan-liai-kin 'g also relates that in tlie midst of the Green 
Ocean there is the Tu So Mountain, ou \\ liicli grows an enormous 
[)each-tree. Its girth measures 3,000 Li. Between its bouglis to the 
nortli-east there is tlie so-called door of the ghosts, where tlie ten 
thousand gliosts pass in and out. On the tree there are two spirits, 
one called S/ieii S/tx. tlie other Yii Li'" who liave the superintendence 
over all the ghosts. They bind the Avickecl oues, wlio have wrought 
evil, with reeds, and feed the tigers with tliem. 

Subsequently Huong T'i worshipped for the purpose of expelling 
the ghosts for ever. He erected a huge human figure of peach- 
wood and painted SI ten S/m and Yil Lil along with tigers aud cords 

1 In his commentary to the Ch'un-cliiu, the Tso-ch'uan. 

- Four wicked princes were cast out by Shun into the four distant regions, 
which were believed to be inhabited by devils. Tso-ch'uan, Duke Vi't'n 18th year 
{Leggr. Classics Vol.V, Pr. I, p. 2S3). 
Cl". Shan-hai-king XII, 1. 



Lun -Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

of reeds hanging down on the house-doors, and thus frightened 
them away.i ' 

Malignant devils have bodies, therefore tliey can be caught 
hold of, and thrown as food to tigers. Being eatable creatures, 
they cannot be unsubstantial or unreal. Yet these creatures have 
a different nature from that of man. Sometimes they are visible, 
sometimes hidden. lu this respect they do not differ from dragons, 
which are not always visible either. 

Some people hold that anterior to a man's fortune or mis- 
fortune lucky or unlucky apparitions become visible, and that, when 
a man is approaching his death, a great many miracles appear to 
him. Ghosts belong to these miracles. When apparitions and 
miracles come forth, they take human form, or they imitate the 
human voice to respond. Once moved, tliey do not give up hu- 
man shape. 

Between lieaven and earth there are many wonders, in words, 
in sound, and in writing. Either does the miraculous fluid assume 
a human shape, or a man lias it in himself, and performs tlic mir- 
acles. The ghosts, wliicli appear, are all apparitions in human 
shape. Men doing wonders with the fluid iu them are sorcerers. 
Real sorcerers have no basis for wliat tliey say, and yet their lucky 
or unlucky propliecics fall from their lips spontaneously like the 
quaint sayings of boys. The mouth of boys utters those quaint 
sayings spontaneously, and the idea of their oration comes to wiz- 
ards spontaneously. The moutli speaks of itself, and the idea comes 
of itself. Thus the assumption of hum an form by tlie miracles, 
and their sounds are spontaneous, and tlieir words come forth of 
their own accord. It is the same tiling in both cases. 

They say that during the time of Chou^ ghosts cried at night 
out-side tlie city, and that wlien sang Hsieh ^ invented the art of 
writing, ghosts wept at niglit likewise. If the fluid can imitate 
human sounds, and weep, it can also imitate the human shape, and 
appear in such a form, that by men it is looked upon as a ghost. 

1 According to the Fmg-su-fmig of the 2nd cent. a.d. this story is narrated 
in the Iluanr) Ti shu, the Book of Iliiang Ti. On New-year's Eve tlie pictures of 
'S'Aen iS7m and Yii Lii are still at present pasted on tlie doorways as a talisman 
against evil spirits. 

3 A legendary personage. 

All about Ghosts. 


A ghost that appears is an evil omen to somebody. When 
in this world fortune or misfortune approach, they are always ac- 
companied by portents. These come slowly, not suddenly, and not 
in great numbers. According to the laws of nature, wlien a man 
is going to die, an unlucky phantom comes forth also, and, when 
a State is going to perish, an evil portent becomes visible. Con- 
versely, when somebody is going to prosper, there are lucky omens, 
and, when a State is going to llourisli, there are signs indicating 
this prosperity beforehand. Good and bad omens or portents are 
the same tiling after all. 

Now, however, the general belief is that ghosts are not a 
kind of portents, but spirits, wliicli can liurt people. One does 
not understand the nature of portents, nor pay attention to the 
transformations undergone by tlie fkiid of creatures. When a State 
is near its ruin, and a phantom appears, it is not this phantom 
wliich ruins tlie State. When a man is near his end, and a gliost 
comes forward, the ghost does not cause his death. Weapons 
destroy the State, and diseases kill man, as tlie following example 
will show : 

When Duke Hsiang of Clii was going to be killed by robbers, 
lie travelled in Ku-fSn, and subsequently hunted in Pei-cliiu,^ where 
he beheld a big hog. His followers said: ― "Prince P'eng ShengV'- 
Tlie duke got angry, and said, " P^eng S/ieng dares to show him- 
self?" Then lie pulled liis bow, and sliot tlie hog, wliicli rose like 
a man, and howled, Tlie duke became so panic-stricken, that lie 
fell down in his carriage, hurt his foot, and lost one slioe.^ After- 
wards lie was assassinated by robbers. 

Those who killed duke Hsiang were robbers, the big liog wliich 
appeared on the road previous, was a portent indicating duke 
Hsiang s impending death. People called it eng Sheng, because it 
resembled liiin. Everybody knows tliat duke Hsiang was not killed 
by tlie liog. Therefore it would also be a great error to assert 
that ghosts can kill men. 

The fluid of the universe wliich forms phantoms foreboding 
evil is the solar fluid. Phantoms are the same as poison. That 
part of the fluid wliicli injures man, is called poison, that which 
is being transformed, a phantom. People say that the quaint ditties 

1 Two places in the Ch'i State, in Shantung. 

2 Prince P'eng Sheriff was a half-brother of Duke Hsiang of CKi, who em- 
ployed him to murder his brother-in-law, the duke of Lii. The people of Ch'i put 
P'enff Sheriff to death. Cf. Tvo-ch'nan, Duke Huan 18th year (693 B.C.). 

3 Quoted from the Tso-ch'uan, Duke Chuang 8th year, corresponding to 685 B.C. 


Lun-Heng: B. Metaphysical. 

of boys are due to the influence pf the Glimmering Star ^ upon men. 
There is truth in these words. The Glimmering Star is the Fire 
Star (the planet Mars). Fire has a poisonous glare. Therefore, when 
Mars reigns in the sky during the night, it means a disaster and 
defeat for a State. 

Tlie fluid of fire flickers up and down, and so pliantoms are 
at one time visible, at another not. A dragon is an animal resorting 
from the Yang principle, therefore it can always change. A ghost 
is the Yang fluid, therefore it now appears, and then absconds. The 
Yang fluid is red, hence the ghosts seen by people liave all a uni- 
form crimson colour. Flying demons are Yang, which is fire. Con- 
sequently flying demons shine like fire. Fire is hot and burning, 
hence the brandies and leaves of trees, on which those demons 
alight, wither and die. 

In the Hung -fan of the Shuking the second of the five elemonts 
is called fire, and the second of the five businesses speech. Speed i 
and fire are the same essence, therefore the ditties of boys and 
ballads are weird sayings. The words come forth, and a com- 
position is completed. Thus there are always writings full of tlio 
supernatural. They say that boys are of the Yang fluid/ hence the 
weird sayings come from small boys. Boys and sorcerers have 
the Yang fluid in tliera, therefore at the great rain sacrifice in sum- 
mer boys must dance, and sorcerers are exposed to tlie sun. Ac- 
cording to the rites of this sacrifice the Yin principle, wliicli has 
separated, is united with the Yang principle. 

In the same manner at an eclipse of the sun, when tlie Yin 
predominates,^ an attack is made on the Yin of the land. As during 
an eclipse, while the Yin reigns supreme, everything belonging to 
the Yin fluid is being assaulted, so at the time of a drought, when 
the Yang is in the ascendant, the indignation is directed against 
all allies of the Yang. Sorcerers belong to this class. Therefore, 

1 焚惑. 

2 Shuking, Hang-fan Pt. V, Bk. IV, 5 and 6 {Legge Vol. III, Pt. II, p. 325 
and 326). 

3 All weird things are manifestations of the Yang^ the solar fluid, which is fiery. 

4 The Yang principle is male. 

6 The Chinese believe that popular songs and sayings Ibrctelling future events, 
of which they have collections, are supernatural inspirations or revelations. Hence 
they bring them into connection with ghosts or supernatural beings. Y^ang Clinng 
falls back on the Yang principle as the origin of those quaint ditties. 
The Yin fluid is the rain. 

' The sun is eclipsed by the moon, which belongs to the I'm fluid. 

All about Ghosts, 


when Duke Hsi of Lu i was visited with a drought", he liad resolved 
to bum all the sorcerers. The sorcerers being imbued with the 
Yang fluid, there are for this reason a great many sorcerers in 
tlie Yang region (the South). ^ The sorcerers are related to, ghosts, 
accordingly sorcerers have something diabolical. 

These sorcerers bear a certain resemblance to the boys singing 
those quaint ditties. The real sorcerers know liow to determine 
luck and misfortune. Being able to do that, tliey are the mes- 
sengers of fate. 3 

Thus the pliant oin of Shen S/icng* appeared iu a sorcerer. Since 
they are filled witli the Yang fluid, pliantoms can appear in sor- 
cerers. As Shell Sheiiy appeared as a pliautom, we may infer tliat 
tlie Marquis of Tu,^ CJmang Tse K," and the malignant ghost were 
likewise phantoms. 

As the discontented spirit of tlie Marquis of Tu was a phantom, 
the bow and arrows used by hi in were the poison of tliis pliautom. 
Tlie pliantoms assuming human shape, their poison must have re- 
sembled human weapons. The gliosts and tlieir poison being of 
the same colour, the bow and arrows of tlie Marquis of Tu "'ere 
all red. The poison was like a weapon used by man, therefore, 
wlien it hit a man, lie died, wlien it liit him but slightly, lie faded 
away, but did not die at once. His incurable disease was the 
effect of tlie poison. 

Phantoms either emit their poison, but do not show them- 
selves, or they show themselves, but do not emit any poison, or 
they produce sounds, wliicli, however, do not form a ay words, or 
tliey make known tlieir thoughts, but do not know their sounds. 
8hen Sheng showed himself and pronounced words, tlie Marquis of 

1 659-626 B.C. 

2 The South is the land of the sun, the Yanp principle. 

3 The foregoing futile speculations are based on the gratuitous analogies, in 
which Chinese natural philosophers, starting from the Yi-king , indulge. 

* Heir-apparent to Duke Hsien of the Chin State, by whom he was put to 
death in (554 b.c. We learn from the Tso-cK'uan, lOth year of Duke Hsi, that in 
(549 the ghost of the murdered prince appeared to an officer of Chin, and spoke to him. 
He told him that in seven days he would have a new interview with him through 
a wizard, and that lie would take his revenge on Duke Hui of Chin. Cf. p. 203. 

5 The Earl of Tu had been unjustly put to death by King Hsilan of the 
(■'l"m dynasty, 826-780 b.c. According to a legend the ghost of the murdered man 
appeared to tlie king while limiting'. He was dressed in red, and carried a red bow 
and red arrows. One of these arrows he shot through the king's heart, who died 
on the spot. Cf. Chacannes, Mem. Hist. Vol. I, p. 278 Note 2. Vid. also p. 202. 
See p. 21 >2. 

' B\ whicli Yfh Kit of Sung was killed. Cf. chap. XLI. 


Lull -Heiig: B. Metaphysical. 

Tu became visible, and sent forth his poison. Queer songs, the 
ditties of boys, and the words on stones are tliouglits uttered. i 
The music of the harp on the P'u River- and the wails of the 
ghosts in the suburb of Chou ^ were sounds produced. 

At the appearance of ill omens, either mishap is impending, 
and the omens appear in advance, or misfortune comes, and is ac- 
companied by those omens. <n tliat case omens and poison are 
both at work. When omens appear beforehand, they cannot be 
poisonous. Slim Sheng was an omeu seen before, tlie discontented 
ghosts of the Marquis of Tu and Chuang Tse I were phantoms 
appearing simultaneously with misfortune. 

When King Ihuan of Chou, Duke C/iien of Yeii,'^ and Yeh Ku 
of Sung 5 were going to die, ill omens appeared, and the poison hit 
them. When Duke Hui of Chin was to be captured,^ but not yet 
to die, merely a phantom made its appearance, but no poison shot 
forth. The appearance of the Earl of Tu, CIniang Tse /, and tlie 
discontented spirit however, were ill omens, announcing the im- 
pending deaths of King Hsilan of Chou, Chien of Yen, and Yeh Ku. 
SI I en Slimy coining forward was an omen indicative of the captivity 
of Duke Hui of Chin. By Po Yu appearing in people's dream the 
deceases of Sse Tai and Kung Sun Tuan were foresliadowed.^ The 
knitting of grass by the old man was an auspicious porteut for the 
victory of Wei Ivo, and for tlie capture of Tu Hui at that time's 
The grey dog, by which the Empress Lii Hon was bitten, was the 
shape of a phantom showing that her death was near. 9 When 

1 The thoughts of ghosts, uttered through the mouth of boys, singing queer 
songs, or mysteriously written on stones. 

2 Cf. p. 220. 

3 See above p. 244. 

4 Duke Chien of Yen, 503-491 b.c. I, p. 382 speaks of Duke Chim of Chao 
and Lun-heng Bk. IV, p. 5 of Viscount Chien of Chao. 

5 See chap. XLI. 

r' Duke Hui of Chin, 649-635 b.c. In 644 the duke was taken prisoner by Ch'in. 

7 Cf. p. 208. 

8 Wei K'o was a commander of the forces of Chin in the 6th cent, b.c, with 
which he worsted those of the Ch'in State, and took their strongest man, Tu Hui, 
prisoner. He was supported during the battle by an old man twisting the grass in 
such a way as to impede the movements of his enemies. This old man was the 
spirit of the father of a concubine of Wei K'o's father, whom he had saved from 
death. Out of gratitude for the kindness shown to his daughter the spirit thus con- 
tributed to his victory and to the capture of Tu Hui. Cf. p. 211. 

9 Vid. Shi-chi chap. 9, p. 8 v. The Einprcss Lii IIou was bitten by a grey 
dog, wliich suddenly vanished. The diviners declared it to have been the phantom 
of J II I, Prujce of Chao, whom Lit Hou had assassinated. Lii Hon died of the bite. 

All about Ghosts. 


the Marquis of Wti-an was near his end, the portents had the mien 
of Ton Ying and Kuan Fu.^ 

In short, what we call lucky or unlucky omeus, ghosts and 
spirits, are all produced by tlie solar fluid. The solar fluid is iden- 
tical with tlie heavenly fluid. As Heaven can create the body of 
man, it can also imitate liis appearance. That by which man is 
born are tlie Yang and the Yin fluids, the Yin fluid produces 】iis 
bones and llesh, the Yang lluid, the vital spirit. While man is alive, 
the Yang and Yin fluids are in order. Hence bones and flesh are 
strong, and the vital force is full of vigour. Through this vital 
force he has knowledge, and with his bones and flesh he displays 
strength. The vital spirit can speak, the body continues strong 
and robust. While bones and flesh, and tlie vital spirit are entwined 
and linked together, they are always visible, and do not perish. 

When the solar fluid is powerful, but devoid of the Yin, it 
can merely produce a semblance, but no body. Being nothing but 
the vital fluid without bones or flesh, it is vague and diffuse, and 
when it appears, it is soon extinguished again. 

1 T'ien Fm, Marquis of Wu-an, a minister of the Emperor Han Wu Ti had 
in 140 B.C. caused the death of his predecessor and rival Ton, Ying. The ghost of 
the latter appeared to him, when he was about to die. The general Kuan Fu's death 
was likewise the work of T'im Fen. Cf. p. 217. 


Lnn - Hoiig: C. Physical. 

■ On Heaven (Tan-ilen)- 

In the books of the Literati i we find tlie statement that Kung 
Kung ^ struggled with Chuan Hsii^ for the empire, and that, out of 
anger that lie was defeated, lie knocked against the Pu Chou Mountain,* 
thereby causing- the break-down of the " Pillar of Heaven " and 
the delabrement of the confines of the earth. But Nil Wa^ melted 
multicoloured stones, and tlierewitli plastered up the blue sky, and 
cut off the legs of a sea-turtle, wliicli slie erected at the four ex- 
tremities of the universe. However, heaven was not complete in 
the north-west, therefore sun and moon moved/' and there was a 
piece of the earth missing in the south-east, hence all the rivers 
flowed to the ocean.? This is a very old tradition, believed by most 
people. 8 Well educated persons w'lW think it strange, but tliey have 
nothing to say against it, or if they have, they are unable to settle 
the question. They may also be afraid, lest the thing si i on Id be 
really true, and therefore dare not discuss it seriously. According to 
the laws of nature and from a liuman point of view, it is all idle talk. 

If a man fighting with another for the empire, out of anger 
that he did not win, k no eked against the Pu Chou Mountain, and 
caused the pillar of heaven to break, and the confines of the earth 
to be smashed, it" liis strength was like tliat, lie would have no op- 
ponent on earth. With such a force lie could engage tliree armies, 
and the soldiers would be to him like ants, and their weapons like 
blades of grass. Wliy should he, resenting liis defeat, strike against 
Mount Fu Chou ? 

There is nothing- harder and heavier than a mountain. The 
strength of ten thousand men pushing would not be able to move 

1 In Huai A'aii Tse. Cf. p. 89. 

2 A legendary being of preliistoric times. 

3 A mytliical emperor. 

Tlio I'll ( liou Mountain forms part ol' the l\' (in-lun, which latter is also 
call 0(1 " Pillar of Heaven " (T'ien-clni). 

■' The sister of tlie mytliical ('mpcror Fn lis!. 

r' To wit from cast to west. 

, The ocean is in tlio east of Cliiiui. 

8 Cf. Lieh 'J'"' V, r)v. : where tliis old ti'aditioii is told with almost the 
saiJiP words. 

On Heaven. 


even a small mountain, and Mount Pu Chou must have been a big 
one. If it was really tlie " Pillar of Heaven," it would be a dif- 
ficult tiling to break it. If it was not. then it cannot be admitted 
that by knocking against the Pu Chou Mountain the " Pillar of 
Heaven " was broken. ― CI man Hsil in his fight against Kung Kung 
might have mustered all tlie soldiers on earth and all the multitudes 
peopling- the land within tlie seas, he would not liave been a match 
for hi 111. How slionld Kung Kung not liave been victorious? 

Moreover, is heaven air or a body ? If it be air, it cannot 
be different from clouds and mist. Then there could be no pillar 
wliicli might be broken. Since Nil Wa repaired it witli stones, it 
must be a body. If it be so in fact, then it is something like gems 
and stones. The substance of stones is heavy, a single pillar would 
not be a sufficient support for a thousand Li. Not even tlie peaks 
of the Five Mountains ^ could prop heaven as pillars. 

When Mount Pu Chou was sti'ud" did it support heaven? 
The mountain was broken by Kung Kung. At that time heaven 
ought to liave fallen flo、vn. How could it be raised again, once 
collapsed, and liow could tlie four poles be erected witli cut ort" 
legs of a sea-turtle? Some one might say that a sea- turtle was a 
monster of olden times witli immense legs, and that its legs there- 
fore could be erected as the four poles. 

Now Pu Chou is a mountain, a sea-turtle an animal. Origin- 
ally a mountain was serving as pillar of heaven. Kung Kung 
broke it, and it was replaced by the legs of an animal. Bones 
become putrified, how could they long stand upright? If the legs 
of a sea-turtle could support heaven, the body of the turtle must 
have been of such enormous dimensions, that it would not have had 
room enough between heaven and earth. How could Nil Wa liave 
lulled it, though she was a saint? If she was able to do it, how did 
she manage it? Provided tliat the leg's could be used as the pillars 
of Ilea veil, their skin must liave been as hard as stone and iron ; 
swords as well as halberds would have been ineffective against it, nor 
could a sharp arrow, sliot from a strong cross-bow, have pierced it. 

We see that at present heaven is very high and far distant 
from the earth. The heaven of to-day is the same with that of 
antiquity. When Kung Kung damaoed it, heaven did uot fall down 
upon tlie earth. Nil Wa was luimau; a man may be very tall, lie 
never will reach up to heaven. When Nil Wa was repairing it, on 

1 The Five Sacred Mountains of China : 一 Tai-shan in Shantung, Heng-shan 
in Hunan, Hua-shan in Shmsi, Heng-shan in Chili, and Sung-shan in Honan. 


Lun - Hong: C. Physical. 

what steps did she climb up, and on what did she stand, while 
doing her work ? Was the heaven of olden days perhaps like the 
roof of a hall, and not far distant from men, so that Kung Kung 
could destroy, and Nil Wa repair it? If this was actually so, there 
would have been many NVi Was. Of people living prior to Nil Wa 
the Human Emperors^ were the oldest. Was at the time of the 
Human Emperors heaven like a canopy? 

The commentators of the Yiking say that previous to the sep- 
aration of the primogenial vapours there was a chaotic and uniform 
mass, and the books of the Literati speak of a wild medley, and 
of air not yet separated. When it came to be separated, the pure 
elements formed heaven, and the impure ones earth. According to 
the expositors of the Yiking and the writings of the Literati the 
bodies of heaven and earth, wlien they first became separated,, were 
still small, and they were not far distant from each other, so much 
so, that heaven might well have reclined on the Fa Chou Mountain, 
and that Kung Kung could smash, and Nil Wa repair it. 

All beings filled with air grow. Heaven and earth contain 
air, which develops spontaneously. A great many years have elapsed 
since their first beginning. Hence it is impossible to calculate the 
distance between heaven and earth now, whether it be wide or nar- 
row, far or near. What the scholars write about it may so far be 
correct, the statement, however, that Kung Kung knocked against 
Mount Pu Chou, broke the " Pillar of Heaven," and smashed the 
borders of the earthy that with liquified multicoloured stones the 
blue sky was repaired, and tliat the legs of a sea-turtle were cut 
off", and set up as the four poles, is all the same untenable. Even 
though a mountain might be moved, Kung Kung, s force would not 
suffice to break it. Were at the time, when heaven and earth first 
separated, the mountains small and men great ? How else could 
tliey have knocked against a mountain, and broken it? 

The repairing of heaven by means of five kinds of stones may 
at least be discussed. These stones might liavc worked like mineral 
drugs curing a disease.'^ But the cutting oil' of the legs of a sea- 
turtle and putting them up at the four poles, cannot be mentioned 
in earnest. It is a long time since Nil Wa. Do the four poles look 
like the legs of a turtle ? 

1 These are still believed to have been preceded by a dynasty of sovereigns 
of Heaven, and of sovereigns of Earth, all fabulous beings. 

2 Supposing heaven to be a spirit or a human-like living being. 

On Heaven. 


In Tsou Yen's • book there is a notice to the effect, that there 
are nine divisions of the Empire viz. the nine divisions forming the 
tributary land of Yil. The Nine Circuits of Yii are so to speak but 
one continent. If in the " Tribute of Yil "- Nine Circuits are men- 
tioned, they are the present Nine Circuits of tlie Empire. They are 
situated in the south-east of tlie eartli and bear the uame of Cli ih- 
hsien^ or Shen-chou ^ (China). But there are eight continents besides. 
Each continent is hemmed in by the Four Seas, which are called Pai- 
hai.5 Beyond the Nine Continents there is still the Great Ocean. ^ — 

This statement is extraordinary and bewildering to the hearers, 
but they are unable to make out, whether it be correct or not. Thus 
it is l)eing handed down by books, which are read, or repeated by- 
word of mouth. Reality and fiction are equally transmitted to 
posterity, and the world does not distinguish between trutli and 
untruth. People become perplexed, and a discussion is very difficult. 

Tsou Yens knowledge did not surpass that of Yii. When Yu 
controlled the deluge, Yi acted as his assistant.' While Yii was 
regulating the water, Yi noted all things. He explored the expanse 
of heaven, and penetrated to the farthest limits of the earth. He 
distinguished what was beyond the Four Seas,^ and thoroughly 
investigated the region within the Four Mountains.^ In the thirty 
five States he enumerated all the beasts and birds, plants, trees, 
minerals, stones, waters, and earths, but lie did not say that there 
are still nine continents besides. 

Liu An, prince of Huai Nan '° invited scientists like Wu Pe'i 
and Tso Wu. His palaces were full of sucli men, who wrote books 
on the Taoist doctrine. Id tlie chapter where he treats of the 
things of the world and the shape of the earth, lie speaks of 

1 A scholar of the 4th cent. b.c. who wrote on cosmogony and geography. 
See p. 19. 

2 The well known chapter of the Shuking. 

3 Literally the " Red Region," 赤^ 

4 The " Divine Circuit," 神 州 . 

5 Minor Seas, 雜海, 

G Ying-hai, 、瀛 海. 

7 Cf. p. 330. 

8 The Four Seas supposed to surround the habitable land i. e. China. 

9 The Four Sacred Mountains: ― Tai-shan, Heng-shan, Hua-shan and Heng 
shan in the East, South, West, and North of ancieut China. The Sung-shan in the 
Centre is omitted. See above p. 251. 

10 The Taoist philosopher Huoi Nan TV cf. p. 335. 

11 Chap. IV of Huai Aon' •、 work. 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

prodigies and tlie wonders of foreign lands, lie also talks of the 
peculiarities of the thirty- five countries, but does not mention the 
existence of Nine Continents. 

Tsoii Yen did not travel as far as Yii and Yi on earth, and 
bis experience was not greater than that of either Wu Pei or Tso 
Wu. His talents were not those of a sage, and he did not learn 
things by a special revelation from- lieaveu. How then could lie 
make such statements ? Examined by the light of Yii's " Mountain 
Book " 1 and of I luai Nans chapter on the shape of the earth, his 
words are utterly wrong. 

The Grand Annalist^ says: ― " lu the ' Chronicle of Yil ' ^ it is 
said til at the Yellow River has its fountain-head in the iCun-hm, 
wliicli is three thousand and five hundred Li 4 high. There where 
sua aud moou hide iu the iCun-lun, it is full of splendour. On the 
mountain there is the Jade Spring aud the Flower Lake, Now, 
after Chang Cliien went as envoy to Bacfria,'' he traced the springs 
of tlie Yellow River, but did lie see what the Chronicle relates 
about the iCun-lun? In what it says about the nine divisions, 
mountains, and rivers the Skuking may be near the truth, ^ of the 
wonderful tilings to be found in Yits Chronicle and the ' Mountain 
Book.' 8 I dare not express myself." . 

" 1 dare not express myself " means that there is no truth in 
them. Every one has heard about the height of the K\m~lun, the 
Jade Spring, and the Flower Lake, but, when Chang Cliien went 
there persoually, lie found that these things did not exist. In the 
" Tribute of Y'd " mountains, rivers, and wonderful things, precious 
metals and stones occurring in tlic Niue Circuits are all enumerated, 
but there is iio reference to tlie Jade Spring or the Flower Lake 
on the IC un-lun. In the opinion of the Grand Annalist the re- 
ports of the " Mountain Book " and (he " Chronicle of Yii " are 

1 The " Mountain Book " 二 Slian-king forms the first five chapters of the 
" Mountain and Sea Classic " ― Shan-hai-hing, which tradition ascribes to Yii and 
his minister Yi, but it Ls probably not earlier than the 4th or the 3d cent. e.c. 

2 iShi-chi chap. 123, p. 1 !) v. 

3 This book is now lost. 

4 Tlie Shi-chi lias 2,500 Li. 

5 玉泉 and 華池. The N/t/.t'/"' writes:—" the Sweet Wine Spring and 
tlie Jasper Lake": ggj^j^ and Jiff 厂 /也. 

G CUang Ch 'ien started on his f'aiiioiis expedition in 1 22 p..r. 

7 These subjects are treated in the chapter eiititlod the " Tribute of Yii. ' 

8 The Shi-cUi writes: — The 'ISk(in-h<ii-khiy. 

On Heaven. 


In all things which are difficult to k now, it is not easy to 
find out the truth. 

The pole is the centre of heaven. At present the world lies 
south from llie pole of Yi't, tliereibre the lieavenly pole must be 
in the nortli, heaven must be high there, and more people living 
in tliat region. According to the "Tribute of Yu " the east is 
washed by the ocean, and the west covered Avitli " flying sand.". 
These must be the extreme limits of heaven and earth. 

Wlieu the sua pricks, his diameter measures a thousand Li. 
Now, if tlie sun is observed at his rise from Yin aucl Chi It Itsien ' 
in K'uei-ckl on the eastern sea-shore, his diameter appears to be no 
more than two feet, which proves that the sun is still very far. 
Consequently there must be more land eastward. This being the 
case, the assertion about the pole being in the north and about 
the extension of heaven and earth is not made at random.- lu 
this way the statements of Tsou Yen cannot, be controverted, aucl 
what the " Chronicle of Yil " says cm mountains and seas, and 
Huai Nan Tses lucubrations on the shape of the earth appear un- 

Tsou Yen holds that at present the " land under heaven " ^ 
lies in the south-east of the earth, and is called CKih hsien or Shen 
chou. Now, tlie lieavenly pole is the centre of heaven. If at present 
the " laud under heaven " were situated in the south-east of the 
earth, the pole ought to appear in tlie north-west. Since in fact 
it is straight north, the world at present lies south of the pole. 
Ill regard to the pole the world cannot lie in tlie south-east, hence 
Tsou Yen's statement to this e fleet is wrong. 

If it were in tlie south-east, it would be near to the sun's 
rising place, and tlie light of the risiug sun ought to appear bigger. 
Now, whether looked at from the Eastern Sea or from the Gobi, 
the size of the sun remains tlie same. Although the points of 
observation be ten thousand Li distant, it makes no difference in 
the size of the sun. That shows that at present tlie world occupies 
but a small part of the expanse of tlie earth. 

1 Chih =z 竹 |S must be a misprint, for such a character is not to be found 
in the dictiouaries. We ought to read Mou 二 貿 j^. Yin and Mou were two dis- 
tricts of the K ttci-chi circuit comprising Chekking and parts of Ankui and Fukien 
under the Han dynasty. I'm was in the south-east of Mou, both situated in the 
present Kinypo prefecture. (Cf. Knnghi's Diet.) 

2 Tsou Yen's assertion. 

3 丄. e. the habitable land or China. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

Loyang is tlie centre of the Nine Circuits. i Viewed from 
Loyang the north-pole appears direct north. The shore of the 
Eastern Sea is three thousand Li distant from Loyang. Seen from 
there tlie pole is likewise in the north. By analogy we may safely 
assume that viewed from the Gobi the pole will also appear in 
the north. The Eastern Sea and the Gobi are the eastern and 
western borders of the Nine Circuits, ten thousand Li distant from 
one another, nevertheless tlie pole appears always north. The eartli 
must therefore be very small and occupying a narrow space, since 
one never gets away from the pole. 

The principality of Annam {Jih Nan i. e. the South of the Sun) 
is ten thousand Li distant from Loyang. People wlio had emigrated 
there, and came back, when asked, have said that, when the sun 
culminates, his resting-place cannot be in Annam. If we go ten 
thousand Li further south, the sun there must reach his south-point. 
Then the soutli-point of the sun would be twenty thousand Li 
distant from Loyang. Now, if we measure the distance of the way 
made by the sun from Loyang, it cannot be the same, as if we 
measure from the north-pole, because the pole is still very far from 
Loyang. Let us suppose tliat we went thirty thousand Li north. 
Even then we would not arrive under the pole. But provided we 
did, then we could say that we had reached the place just beneath 
tlie nortli-pole. Since from there to the soutli-point there would 
be fifty thousand Li, there must be fifty thousand Li north of the 
pole likewise, and under these circumstances there would also be 
fifty thousand Li from the pole eastward and westward in either 
direction. One hundred thousand Li from north to south, and one 
hundred thousand Li from east to west multiplied would give a 
million square Li.^ 

Tsou Yen opines that between lieaveu and earth there are 
nine continents like China. At the Chou period the Nine Circuits 
measured five thousand Li from east to west, and from nortli to 
south also five thousand Li. Five times five gives twenty- five, one 
continent therefore would contain twenty-five thousand square Li, 
which would be tlie size of China.3 Twenty-five thousand Li multi- 

1 Loyang is considered the centre of the world i. e. China. 

2 Wang di'iing is a better theorist than arithmetician. The square of 
100,000 is 1 0,000 millions, not 】 million. Wumj ('Hung supposes the earth to be 
an equilateral, rectangular square. 

3 The same mistake. The square of :'),000 is 25 millions. 25 million square 
Li, about 8 million square kilometer is approximately tlie area of tlie Eighteen Pro- 
vinces or Cliiiia Pioper. 

On Heaven. 


plied by nine would give two hundred and twenty-five thousand 
square Li. Tsou Yen's figure ^ may appear too high, but computation 
and a thorough investigation show us that, on the contrary, it is 
too low. 2 

The Literati say that heaven is air, and therefore not far from 
man. Consequently it immediately knows, whether they are right 
or wrong, and whether they possess secret virtues or vices, and 
also responds to them. This is regarded as a proof of its vicinity. 
But, if we examine the question critically, we find that heaven's 
body is not air. 

Men are created by 】ieaven, why then grudge it a body? 
Heaven is not air, but has a body on high and far from men. 
According- to private traditions heaven is upwards of sixty-thousand 
Li distant from the eartli. Some mathematicians reckon the entire 
circumference of heaven at 365 degrees. Thus the world all round 
is divided into degrees, and its height measures a certain number 
of Li. If heaven were really air, air like clouds and mist, how 
could then be so many Li or so many degrees ? Besides we have 
the " twenty-eiglit constellations," which serve as resting-places to 
sun and moon, just as on eartli the couriers lodge in postal stations. 
The postal stations on eartli correspond to the solar mansions on 
heaven. Hence the statement found in books that heaven has a 
body is not baseless. To him who considers the question, as we 
have done, it becomes evident that heaven cannot be something 
diffuse and vague. 

1 225,000 square Li (225 millions), which number is based on Tsou Yen's 
hypothesis that there are nine continents as large as China. 

2 Wang CK'ung has calculated a million square Li (10,000 millions). The 
area of our Earth measures about 510 million square kilometer, not 2,500 millions 
[― 1 0,000 million square Li) as results from Wang CKung's calculation. 

3 Huai IS an Tse says 50,000 Li. 

l-un - Heng. 



Luii-Heiig: C. Physical. 

On the Sun {Shuo-jih). 

The Literati say that the sun, when lie becomes visible iu 
the morning, comes forth from darkness, and that, when be dis- 
appears ill the evening, lie re-enters darkness. The Yin fluid of 
darkness is obscure, they say, therefore the sun disappears in it, 
and becomes invisible. 

In reality the sun neither leaves nor re-enters darkness, but 
liow can \ve prove that? 

Night is darkness ; its fluid is also obscure.* But if a fire is 
made during the night, its light is not extinguished by the niglit. 
The darkness of night is the darkness of the north. The setting 
sun, whicli rises in the morning, is the kindled fire. The light of 
a fire, kindled at night-time, is not extinguished, that shows that, 
when the sun sets in the evening, a fluid 2 cannot be the cause of 
his disappearance. 

Observing' the sun-rise and the sun-set in winter, we remark 
that, iu the morning, lie rises in the south-east, and, in tlie evening, 
lie sets in tlie south-west. The south-east and tlie south-west are 
not the region of the Yin or darkness. How tlien can it be said 
that tlie sun proceeds from and reverts to darkness? Furthermore, 
the stars notwithstaiicling- their smallness remain visible, and the 
sun is extinguished in spite of his greatness? The reasoning oT 
the scholars of to-day is tliouglitless and shallow. 

They again say that tlie shortness of the days in winter, ami 
tlieir length iu suiiiiner are also brought about l)y tlic Yiu and tlio 
Yang. In summer, the Yang fluid abounds, and the Yin fluid falls 
short. Tlic Yang fluid shines with the same splendour as llie sun. 
Consequently, when the sun comes forth, there is nothing to ob- 
scure him. Ill winter, the Yin fluid is dusky, and overshadows 

1 Night is here taken as something positive, something like a black veil, or 
dark air, not as the absence of light, vvliicli does not cause the disappearance oi' the 
sun, but is its consequence. 

2 The dark fluid of night. 

3 According to Chinese symbolism the J7w principle of darkness corresponds 
to the north. 

On the Sun. 


the sun-light. Therefore, although the sun rises, he remains dark 
ami invisible. Thus in winter the days are short. The Yin is 
paramount, and the Yang is scarce, just the reverse of what takes 
[)lace in summer. 

Elowever, it' we consider the question seriously, we will Ihitl 
that the Yin and the Yang are not responsible lor the length or 
the shortness of the days. This is made evident by the northern 
stars. The Yin of tlie north is the Yin of the sun. The Yin of 
the north does not overshadow tlie sparkling of the stars, why 
then should the Yin in winter obfuscate the brightness of the sun? 
Hence those wlio speak about the Yin and the Yang miss the truth. 

As a matter of fact, in summer the sun stands in Gemini, in 
winter in Aquila.' Aquila is far from the pole, therefore tlie curve 
described by the suu is sliort. Gemini being near tlie pole, the 
solar curve is long tlien. In summer tlie suu proceeds northwards 
as far as Gemini, iu winter southwards as far as Aquila. There- 
fore the extreme solar points iu winter and summer are called 
"wiiiti'r" and " summer limit. '""^ Because in spring and autumn 
those extremes are not reached, one speaks of "vernal" and 
" autumnal division. "s 

Some people hold that in summer, when the Yang fluid 
abounds, it is in the south, and that in consequence heaven rises 
and becomes Ligli. In winter the Yang fluid decays, and heaven 
sinlvs down, and becomes depressed. When heaven is liigli, the 
course of the suu increases in length, and the days are lengthened; 
when heaven is low, the solar curve decreases, and the days are 

Now, if owing to the exuberance of the solar Yang fluid, 
lieaven rises in the south, and tlie course of the sun is lengthened, 
the same increase ought to take place in regard to the moon. In 
summer, when the days are long, the sun rises iu the north-east, 
but the moon in the south-east. In winter, when the days are 
sliort, the sun rises in the soutli-east, whereas the moon rises in 
the north-east. If iu summer lieaven were raised iu tlie south, 
sun and moon ought equally to rise in the north-east, and, if in 
winter heaven A\ere lowered, sun and moon should both rise in 
the south-east. It results from this, that in summer lieaven does 

1 Literally: Tung-chin g 東井, the " Eastern Well," and Cliien-nu 牽牛, 
the '' Herdsman." 

2 . The two solstices. 

3 分. The two equinoxes. 



Lun - Heng : C. Physical, 

not rise in the south, and that in winter it is not depressed. On 
the contrary, in summer, when the days are long, the stars from 
which the sun rises are in the north, and in winter, wlien the 
days are short, these stars are in the south. 

The following question may be raised. In summer, in the 
fifth moon, when the days are long, the sun stands in Gemini, 
which are near the pole, therefore the course of tlie sun is long. 
Now, we see that in the fifth moon tlie sun rises in tlie sign Yin i 
and sets in Hsu.'^ The solar curve being so long and far from 
men, how is it that we see the sun rise in Yin and set in Hsil? 
When the sun stands in Gemini, lie is very near to men. Gemini 
are near the pole, hence, when the pole turns round, they ought 
to remain always visible. Provided that Gemini are by the side 
of the pole, ought we not to have no night, but continuous (lay? 4 

Some scholars assert that sun and moon have nine different 
courses, therefore, they say, the sun in his course is near or far, 
and day and night are long or short. ― However, in the fifth month 
day-time makes up ' Yie and night-time ^/jg, and in the sixth month 
the day is '7i6 and the night ''/jg. From the sixth month to the 
eleventh month every mouth the clay decreases by Yie- That means 
that to tlie course of the sun every month Yie is added. In the 
lapse of a year the sun takes 16 difl'erent courses on lieaveu and 
not 9 only. 

Another idea is that heaven is high in tlie south and depressed 
in the north. When the sua rises into tlie higher region, lie be- 
comes visible, and when lie sets into the lower one, lie disappears. 
Heaven is believed to be like a reclining umbrella, which is shown 
by the fact that tlie pole, as seen from us, is in the north. The 
pole is tlie centre of the world. Since it is north from us, heaven 
must evidently resemble a reclining- umbrella. 

If to illustrate the shining ol" the sun the analogy of a reclining 
umbrella be used, heaven must really have the shape of an um- 
brella. The polar star in the north of the upper part would cor- 
respond to the top of the umbrella, the south in the lower part 
would be like the stick of the umbrella, but where would that 
be? An umbrella reclining on tlie earth cannot turn round, but 
raise it straight, and it rotates. Now, provided that heaven revolves, 

1 This cyclical sign denotes ENE-'/jN on the compass and corresponds 
to Gemini. 

2 Hm ― WNW74N and Aquarius. 

3 Turning round with the pole. 

■* The .sun turning round tlie poJe in Gemini and never disajjpeariiig. 

On the Sun. 


its northern edge cannot touch the earth, for liow could it revolve, 
if it knocked against the earth? We see from this that heaven 
cannot be shaped like a reclining umbrella, and that the sun rising 
or setting does not follow the elevation, and tlie depression of 

Some people maintain that the northern edge of heaven sinks 
down into tlie earth, and that the sun following heaven enters 
into the earth. The earth being massive, obscures liim, so that 
men cannot see him. But heaven and eartli are husband and wife. 
They unite in one body, heaven is in earth, and eai'di joined to 
liea\'en. Their fluids mix and produce things. Tlie north is Yin. 
When both are coupled, and tlieir fluids mingle, it is in the north 
therefore,^ but does heaven revolve in the earth ? If not, the earth 
in the north would be depressed,^ and not even. 

Let us suppose that lieaven really is revolving in the earth. 
On digging up the eartli ten feet deep we find springs. Does then 
heaven revolving in the earth plunge into the water, and then 
come out again ? If the north were depressed and not level, the 
Nine Streams^ ought to flow north without ever filling it up. In 
reality heaven does not revolve in the earth, nor does the sun 
become obscured, because lie follows heaven. Heaven is quite as 
level as eartli, and the sun rises, and sets, being turned round 
along with heaven. 

Heaven appears to us in the shape of a bowl turned upside 
down. Therefore the sun rising and setting looks like coining from 
and entering into the eartli. When the sun rises, he is near, when 
lie sets, he is far, and becomes invisible, hence the term setting or 
entering. When in his rotation the sun appears in the east, he is 
near, hence we say that he is rising or coming out. But what 
proof have we? If you attach a moonlight pearl to the bow over 
a cart, and turn the cart round, the pearl will also turn. 

To men heaven and earth seem to unite at a distance of no 
more than ten Li. That is the effect of the distance, for tliey do 
not come together in fact. When we behold the sun setting, lie 
does not set either, it is also the distance. At the time, when the 
sun sets in tlie west, the people living there will perhaps say that 
he is culminating;, and looking from the point, where the sun is 
setting, eastward to our world, lieavea and earth may appear to 

The north is 17/?, which is synonymous with fenia】e, here the female organ. 

Viz. by heaven knocking against it in its rotation. 

The Nine Streams regulated by 〗'u. See Mayers Pt. II, No. 267. 


Lnn-Heng: C. Physical. 

the beholder joined together. Our world is in the south, i therefore 
the sun rises in tlie east, and disappears in the northern regions.-^ 
If the suu rose in tlie nortli, he would set in the south, ^ for every- 
Avliere, what is uear seems to rise, and wliat is far, to set. In real- 
ity there is no setting, but it is tlie distance. 

If standing on tlie shore of a big lake, you look out to its 
limits in tlie four directions, they are blended with heaven. As a 
matter of fact, they are not blended, but the distance gives tliis 
impression. Through distance the sun seems setting, and througli 
distance the 】ake seems to be blended 、vith heaven. It is the same 
in both cases. The lake is bordered by land, but we do not so<* 
it, for to the observer it looks, as if it were blended 4 with heaven. 
The suu also looks like setting. All this is hrouglit about by distance. 

The height of Mount T ai equals that of. heaven, and is lost 
in the clouds, yet from a distance of one hundred Li the mountain 
does not appear as big as a clod of earth. At a distance of oik* 
hundred Li Mount T ni disappears, how much more the sun, whose 
distance from us is counted by ten thousands of Li ! The exainplf^ 
of the T'ai'shan gives an explanation. 

Let a man take a big torch, and walk at night on a level 
road, 、vliere there are no gaps. He will not have walked to a 
distance of one Li from us, before the light of the fire is gone out. 
It does not go out, it is the distance. In tlie same manner the suu 
revolving westward and disappearing does not set. 

The following question may be asked: ― Plea veil is level as 
much as the earth. Now, looking up to heaven and regarding' tlu、 
movements of the sun and the moon, it seems as though heaven 
were high in the south and low in the north. ? How is that to 
be explained ? 

1 See above p. 255. On p. 263 Wang Cheung says that our world lie's in the 
south-east of the universe. 

2 The sun sets in the west and passes through the north, before he rises 
again in the east. 

3 To people living in the east of the universe L e. below the farthest eastern 
limit reached by the sun in his course, the sun would appear to rise in the north, 
to culminate in the east, and to set in the south. 

4 The context requires that we should read 露 j blended instead of loo'、' 
out of the text. 

5 The light becomes invisible for those who look after him. 
r' The great distance makes the sun invisible. 

7 Because the sun and the moon, winch are supposed to be attached to 
heaven and revolving with it, rise on the southern hemisphere, and go down on 
the northern. 

On the Sun. 


The answer is this : ― Our actual world ^ is Iving in the south- 
east. Seen from Ik、1o、v, lieavon looks, as if it wxm'c clcviited, and 
the courses of tJie sun and the moon are soutli of us. Now, our 
world lies beneath the courses of the sun and the moon, tlierefore 
it seems to us, as if in their motions they rose in tlie south, and 
descended in the nortli. How shall we account for that? 

If heaven were elevated in the south, the southern stars should 
be elevated likewise. However, we see them going down. Is then 
heaven again depressed in the soutli? The celestial bodies wliicli 
are near appear liigli, those whicli are distant, low. To people 
uortli of the pole it seems high, and the soutli they regard as 
low. The same holds good for the regions east and west of the 
pole. All regard as liigh, what is near, and as low, what is lar 
from them. 

He who from beneath the Nortli em Passes - looks up, sees the 
polar constellation above hi in. The north of the Usiung-nu is the 
bordoL'-land of the earth. Seen in the north, heaven still appears 
liigh in the north and lo^v in the south, and sun and moon in 
their courses ascend heaven there also. For a man standing on 
Mount T ai it is high, whereas ten Li from its foot it appears low. 
The height of heaven is like that of Mouut T ai as seen h\ men. 

The four quarters and the centre, which are level, are of the 
same lieight, if, therefore, heaven seems to be depressed at tlie four 
cardinal points, this must be an illusion caused by the distance. 
Heaven does not only seem depressed there, but joined to the earth. 

Some savants hold that at sunrise and sunset, in the morning 
and in the evening, the sun is near, and that Avliile in tlie zenith 
he is far away. Conversely, others maintain that the sun in the 
zenith is near, whereas at sunrise and sunset he is a long way 
oft'. Those who believe that the sun is near, when lie rises or sets, 
and far off, when lie culminates, have remarked the lai'g'e size of 
the sun rising oi' setting, and his smallness at noon. We find that 
things are large, when they are near us, and small, when seen from 
a distance. Therefore the rising and setting sun is considered to 
be near, and tlie sun in the zenitli to be far distant. Those who 
believe tliat at sunrise and sunset the sua is far off, and at noon 
near us. have ou the other Land made the observation tliat at noon 
the sun is warm, and that lio is cool, while rising or setting. Wlieu 
a tire comes near us, Ave feel hot. whereas, wlieu it is at a distance, 

1 /• e, China. 
"- 111 Mongolia. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

we feel cold. Hence the idea that the sun at noon is near, while 
he is at a distance, wlien he is rising or setting, i 

Both views are well-founded, and it has not yet been ascer- 
tained, which is right, and which is wrong. If we consider the 
question seriously, we arrive at the conclusion that the sun in tlie 
zenith is near, and at sunrise and sunset far off, as the following 
experiment will show. Place a pole upright in a room. The room 
is 30 feet high. The pole placed vertically under the roof-beam 
knocks against the latter above, and reaches to tlie bottom below. 
The beam then is 30 feet distant from the bottom. When the pole 
is inclined a little sidewards, its top diverges sidewards, and cannot 
touch the beam anymore, because the distance from the bottom is 
more than 30 feet. 

When the sun is culminating, lie just reaches the highest 
point on heaven, exactly like the pole standing upright so, tliat 
tlie distance from the bottom measures 30 feet. The sun rising or 
setting is deflected to our right or left like tlie pole inclining to 
one side, whereby the distance from Ijie bottom exceeds 30 feet. 
We learn from this that the sun in the zenitli is near, and the 
rising or setting sun more distant. 

Let again a man be seated in the central hall of a house, 
and another walk on its roof. When lie has reached the centre 
of the liouse, he is just above the man seated, and the distance 
from the man on tlie roof to the man sitting in the liouse, is 
30 feet. When he is at the eastern or the western corner of the 
roof, his distance from the man in the house is greater than 30 feet. 

The sun in the zenith is like the man standing in the middle 
of the roof, when the sun is just rising or setting, he resembles 
tlie man at the eastern or western corner. The sun in tlie zenith 
is near us, therefore warm, at tlie time of his rising or setting, lie 
is far, and consequently cool. However, when the sun stands in 
the zenith, he is small, whereas at sunrise and sunset he is large. 
That is because, when the sun is culminating, the brightness of 
daylight ^ makes him appear small, and wlien tlie sun is rising or 
setting, daylight is fading, and lie looks larger in consequence. In 
the same manner a fire looks small at tlay-timc, but big at night. 
What is shown by fire, can be proved by tlie stars also. The stars 

1 This problem is already enunciated by Lich Tse V, 9 who makes two lads 
expose it to ( 'onfucius. They ask the Sage to decide between the two antagonistic 
views, but lie is unable to give a satisfactory reply. 

- Wany CKumj seems to think that daylight is distinct from the light of 
the sun. 

On the Sun. 


are not visible during the day, because the brightness of tlie day 
eclipses tliein. At night, there is no light, and the stars become 
visible. Now the sun and the moon are stars. Wlien the sun ap- 
proaches the liorizon, and is about to set, his liglit fades, and he 
appears bigger. 

The scholars argue that in the morning tlie sun rises from 
Fu Sang〕 and in the evening sets in Ilsi Liu? Fu Sang is the 
eastern region, Hsi Liu the western desert, botli are tlie confines 
of heaven and earth, and tlie places where the sun and the moon 
use to rise and set. 

I beg to put the following question : ― Every year in the se- 
cond and the eighth mouths the sun rises exactly in the east, and 
sets exactly in tlie west. 3 We might say tlieu that the sun rises 
in Fu Sang, and sets in Hsi Liu. But in summer, when the days 
are long, the sun rises in the north-east, and sets in the north- 
west.^ In winter, A\'lien tlie days are short, the sun rises in the 
south-east and sets in the south-west. In winter and summer rising 
and setting take place in four different corners. In which place 
exactly are Fa Sang and Hsi Liu situated then? The above state- 
ment, therefore, is true for spring and autumn, but not for winter 
and summer. Yet, after all, the sun does not rise in Fu Sang nor 
set ill Hsi Liu for tlie reason that he revolves witli heaven and is 
visible, when near, and invisible, wlien far off. While lie is in 
Fu Sang or Hsi Liit, the people there, from their standpoint, will 
say tliat tlie sun is in the zenith. At otlier times it may appear 
from Fu Sang and Ilsi Liu, as though the sun were rising or set- 
ting. When he is above people's heads, they call it noon, when 
he is on one side, they call it morning or evening. How can the 
sun under these circumstances rise in Fu Sang, and set in Hsi Liu? 

The Literati again assert that lieaven is revolving from right 
to left, 5 and that the sun and the moon in tlieir courses are not 
attached to heaven, but liave each their own movement. It might 
be objected that, in case the sun and the moon had tlieir proper 
movements, and were not attached to lieaven, the sun would proceed 
one degree, and the moon thirteen. After their rise, both ought 
to go on and turn from west to east, how is it that nevertheless 

1 Fu Sang has been identified with Sakhalin. 

2 Hsi Liu must be the Mongolian Desert. 

3 At the equinoxes. See above p. 258, 

4 Vid. above p. 259. 

5 From right to left, facing the polar star which remains motionless and round 
which heaven revolves from east to west (cf. p. 267). 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

they commence to turn westward? Tliey are attached to heaven, 
and follow its movements during tlie four seasons. Their movement 
may be compared to that of ants crawling on a rolling mill-stone. 
The movements of the sun ami the moon are slow, whereas heaven 
moves very fast. Heaven carries the sun and the moon along with 
it, therefore tliey really move eastward, ^ but are turned westward. 

Perliaps the following question might be raised: ― Tlie sun. 
the moon, and heaven have their niovenient each, but tlie luiinber 
of degrees wliicli they traverse is not the same. To what can tlioir 
velocity be compared, if referred to the things of tliis world? 

I would reply that heaven makes one circumvolution every 
day. The sun moves on one degree equal to 2,000 Li, of which 
he makes 1,000 during the day-time and 1,000 during the night' 
The unicorn 2 also runs 1,000 Li during the day, therefore tlie 
speed of the sun is very mucli like the pace of tlie unicorn. 

The moon moves on 13 degrees. 10 degrees being e([ual to 
20,000 Li, and 3 degrees to 6,000, the distance made by tlie moon 
iu one day and one night is 26,000 Li, which is like the flight of 
a wild duck. 

. Since heaven turns round 365 degrees, the multiplication gives 
730,000 Li. This movement is very fast, and there is nothing like 
it. It can be compared to the rotation of a potter's wheel or tlie 
speed of an arrow, shot from a cross-bow. 

But although the rotation -of lieaveii be so very fast, it ap- 
pears to us slow, because heaven is so high, and far away, for 
distant objects in motion look motionless, and things si lifting their 
place, stationary, as tlie following observation will show. If any 
body is on board a ship, sailing with tlie wind, in a river or on 
sea, her speed is last, while she is near the shore, aiul slow, while 
she is far off. Tlic ship's real spocd n^inaiiis the same, its quick- 
ness or slowness in(、rely depending on the distance from which slie 
is seen. 

WIhmi look to hi'u \ on. its movement (Iocs not ;»|>p(、ar 
as quid; as that of tin* niiic.orn. With tli(、 sun ov(m' it tlie unicorn 
l)ast(M)s oil, but w hen darkness la lis, 1 ho sun is in I'ront, 、、- liy? 

】 Tlidr own iiiovcnuMit being from v\' to east, opposite to that of heaven. 

- The Kilin, hy Europeans usually railed nnicoi-ii, whose prototype seems to 
have l)oeii the girafTc. Tlie giraflo gallops like the l' horse. Tlie swiftest horses 
are likewise said to make 1 .00(1 Li a day. 

On the Sun. 


Because the unicorn is near, wliereas the sun is far. Distance 
cduvevs the iinpi'essioii of slowness, and proximity tliat of speed. 
If a journy extiMuls over 00,000 Li, it is diffunilt to form an ade- 
quate idea of the real movement. 

The Literati assert that the sun moves one degree, and heaven 
365 during one day and one niglit, that heaven turns to the left, 
and the sun and tlie moon to the right, and that tliey vied heaven. 

The following- question may be asked: ― The movements of 
the sun and the moon depcnid on heaven, tliey move, attached to 
Ilea veil, not straight on. How sliall we describe it? The Yiking 
says : 一 " The sun, the moon, and tlie stars rely on heaven. Fruits, 
grasses, and trees rely on earth. ' i Relying means that tliey are 
attached. Tlie movement attached to hear en is like tliat of men 
walking round on tlie earth. The simile is like that of the ants 
crawling on the rolling mill-stone. 

There is the question : ― How do 、ve know tliat the sun does 
not (Ictacli liimself from heaven, nor move straight on independently? 
If the sun could do so, lie ought to turn eastward of himself, and 
not share heaven's movement to the west. The movement of the 
moon is the same as tliat of the sun, both being attached to heaven. 
This is proved by a comparison with the clouds. 

The clouds are not attached to lieaven, they always remain 
in tlieir place. Provided the sun and tlie moon were not attached 
to heaven, we would expect tliem to keep tlieir places likewise. 
From this it is evident that the sun's movement is connected with 
that of lieaven. 

Another question arises : —— The sun is fire. On earth fire does 
not move, why then does the sun move on heaven ? 

The fluid attached to lieaven has motion, tliat attached to 
the eartli lias not. If fire be attached to the earth, the earth does 
not move, consequently tlie fire does not move either. 

Some one might object, liow could water move, it" the fluid 
attached to earth liad no motion. The reply is that the water 

1 Yiking, 30th diagram (Li), Legge'.-i transl. p. 237. ― Our text slightly differs. 
It adds " and the stars," and writes " fruits " instead of " grains." 

208 Lun-Hfiig: C. Pliysical. 

flows eastward into the ocean, because tlie north-western region is 
high, and tlie south-eastern low. It is the nature of water to seek 
the low places, whereas fire will rise. If the earth were not higli 
in the west, the water would not run eastward either. 

We will have to meet another objection as to liow men, being 
attached to the earth, can move, if the fluid attached to the eartli 
is motionless. 

Human actions and desires all have an aim. Since purpose 
is at the root of 1mm an nature, man works and strives. 

The ancients were plain and simple-minded. Though on tlie 
frontier of a neighbouring country tliey heard tlie cocks crow and 
the dogs bark, they never had any intercourse with that country. 

Somebody will ask perhaps, why the stars do not move, it" 
the fluid attached to heaven is in motion. I reply that the stars 
are fixed in heaven. Heaven moves, and since they are turned 
round along with heaven, they move also. 

An opponent might urge that human nature is based on pur- 
pose, and therefore acts, but how could heaven move, since its 
principle is absence of purpose ? ― Heaven's movement consists in 
the spontaneous emission of fluid. The fluid being emitted, things 
are produced of themselves, but tlie fluid is not emitted on pur- 
pose, in order to produce things. Without movement the fluid can- 
not be emitted, and unless the fluid be emitted, things cannot be 
created. It is different from the movement of man. The move- 
ments of the sun, the moon, and the live planets all consist in tlie 
emission of fluid. 

The Literati hold that there is a three-legged raven in the sun, 
and a hare and a toad in the moon. However, tlie suu is the 
heavenly fire wliicli docs not dilfer from the fire on cartli. In the 
fire on eartli there are no living beings, how could there be a raven 
ill the Iieavenly fire? There are no living creatures iu the fire, 
when they enter it, they are burnt to death. How could a raven 
remain unscatlied ? 

The moon is water.' There are living beings iu the water, 
l)ut not liaiTs or toads. Wlien a hare or a toad remain long in 
the wat (! r, tliey inevitably die. The. sun and the moon are attached 
to heaven just as shells and oysters swim in the deep, evidently 

1 Again the iiiisleadiiig symbolism. The moon represents the female prin- 
(•i])lc, i'in, to wliicl) water corresponds, whence the iiaTve deduction is made that 
the moon water. 

Oil tlie Sun. 


because they belong to the same fluid. Are perhaps that what we 
call a hare and a toad, shells or oysters ? 

And let us ask the Literati whether the raven, the hare, and 
the toad are living or dead. 】f tliey be dead, and remain for a 
long time in the sun and tlie moon, they must become charred, 
decay and putrefy. If tliey be alive, where are they at the time 
of a total eclipse of the sun or, when on the last day of a inontli 
the moon totally disappears? 

The raven, the liare, and tlie toad must be the fluid of the 
sun and the moon, as the intestines of man, or the heart, and back- 
bone of animals are the fluid of these creatures. It is still possible 
to examine the moon, but, when we look at the suii, our eyes are 
dazzled, and we cannot make out what fluid really pervades the 
sun, yet we should be able to distinguish an object in the sun, 
and call it a raven ? In fact, we cannot see the entire body of a 
raven, and we should remark that it lias three legs? This is cer- 
tainly not true. 

Moreover, we hear the Literati speak of many animals, why- 
then is there only one raven in the sun, and one hare and a toad 
in the moon? 

The savants maintain that the eclipse of the sun is caused 
by the moon. They have observed that the eclipses of the sun 
always fall on the last and tlie first day of a month. At that 
time the moon is united with the sun, therefore she must eclipse 
him, they think. Many eclipses of the sun have occurred during 
the " Spring' and Autumn " period. The Classic records that on 
the first day of such and such a moon the sun has been eclipsed, 
but it does not follow that the moon lias any tiling to do witli 
these eclipses. If tlie chroniclers had known that the sun was 
eclipsed by the moon, why have tliey been silent on this point, 
and did not speak of the moon? 

They say that, when an eclipse of the sun takes place, the 
Yang is weak and tlie Yin strong. When a man possesses great 
strength, he can subdue others in this world. Now, on the last 
day of a month, the light of the moon is extinguished, and, on 
the first day of the new moon, it is gone so to say, which is the 
highest degree of weakness. How could it vanquish the sun, for 
tlie eclipse of the sun is said to be caused by the moon? If, in 
an eclipse of the sun, the moon is believed to eclipse it, where is 
the moon? The eclipse is not caused by the moon, since the moon 
herself is destroyed. If we regard the sun from the same point 
ol" view ay the moon, his light at au eclipse is destroyed of itself. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

On an average, an eclipse of tlie sun occurs every 41 or 42 
months, and an eclipse of the moon, every 180 clays. These eclipses 
have their fixed time, and these changes do not always take place. 
When tliey happen, it is tlirougli the spontaneous action of the 
fluid. Tlie last and the first day of a month recur very often, but 
does the moon cause an eclipse then ? The sun being in his full, 
the change is brought about by liis slirinking together. Must we 
suppose sonielliing that consumes (eclipses) the sua? What con- 
sumes the mountains or the earth, Avhen the mountains collapse 
and tlie earth shakes ? 

Some say that, wlien the sua is eclipsed, the moon covers 
liiin. The sun being' above, tlie moon below, her shadow falls on 
the sun's body. When tlie sun and the moon are iiuitexl, but the 
moon is above, and the sun below, tlie moon cannot cover the 
sun, whereas, when the sun is al)ove, and the moon underneath 
liiiii, she casts her shadow on liim. The light of the moon then 
covers the light of the sun, hence the expression: ― eclipse. * Tlie 
shadow of the moon is like that of tlie clouds \\ liicli cover the 
sky in such a way that the sun and the moon are invisible. 

Provided that both unite witli their extremities, they must 
eclipse one another, and if both, when they come together, are 
joined like two pieces fitting one into tlie other, the sun must dis- 
appear as a matter of course. That tlie sun and the moon meet 
on the last and the first day of tlie month is a very common ce- 
lestial phenomenon, but it is wrong to say that at an eclipse the 
moon covers the light of the sun for the following reason: ― 

In case that, when the sun and the moon unite, the moon 
covers the light of the sun, tlie edges of the two luminaries must fall 
together at the beginning of the eclipse, and they must change 
their places, when tlie sun comes out again. Now, let us suppose 
that the sun stands in the east, the moon in the west. The moon 
moves quickly eastward, where she falls in with the sun. She 
covers tlie edge of tlie sun, and after a short time she passes the 
sun and proceeds eastward. Tlie westci'n edge of the sun lias 
been covered first, its light must tlieii come back. The eastern 
edge has not yet been overshadowi^cl, it will be eclipsed next. 

1 Tlie Chinese expression Is "to consume," " to eat " ("^^ or , 虫》 In the 
popular helief" the sun at an eclipse is being devoured by the " heavenly clog," an 
idea perhaps derived from lndi:,. In \\ a"" ('Utniys time it must not yet liave been 
current, I'or otherwise he would most likely not have oiiiittod to mention and con- 
trovert it. 

On the Sun. 


Thus we see that during an eclipse of tlie sun the light of the 
western edge is extinguished, and that, when the suii comes back, 
the light of the western edge returns. Then the moon goes on, 
and covers the eastern edge, wliile the western edge returns. ( an 
we say tlien that tlie sun and the moon are joined together, and 
that one covers and overshadows the other? ^ . 

The scholars assert tliat the shape of the suu ami tlie moon 
is quite round. When they look u]) to tliem, tliey appear shaped 
like a peck, or a round basket. Their shape is a regular circle, 
rliey are not like the fluid of a fire seen from al'ar, for a lluid is 
not round. ― lu reality tlie suu and the moon are not round, they 
only appear so through the distance, as will be seen from the 
IblloAviug : —The suu is the essence of fire, tlie moon the essence 
of water. On earth fire and water are not round, why should 
they be round in heaven aloue? The sun and tlie moon in heaven 
are like tlie Five Planets, and tlie Five Planets like the other stars. 
The stars are not rouud, ouly their radiance appears round, be- 
cause they are so far from us. This will become evident from the 
following fact: 一 During the " Spring and Autumn " period stars 
fell down in the capital of Sung.- When people went near to 
examine them, they found that they were stones, but not round. 
Since the stars are not round, we know tliat tlie suu. the moou, 
and the planets are not round either. 

The scholars discoursing on the sun, and the mechanics hold 
tliat there is ouly one sun, whereas in the " Tribute of Yii •, and in 
the Shan-hai-king it is stated that there are ten suns. Beyond the 
ocean in the east there is the "Hot Water Abyss," s over wliicli 
rises Fu-sang. The ten suus bathe in the water. There is a huge 
tree. Nine suns remain in its lower branches, while one sun stays 
on the upper branch.* Hum Nan Tse also writes in his book 
about ten suns wliicli were shining. During the time of Yao tlie 
ten suns came out together, aucV scorched everything, whereupon 

1 Wang CliuTig here speaks of a partial eclipse. That the shadow of the 
moon ill most cases covers only : pai't— :of tlie sun cannot invalidate the right view, 
which Wang CKiing rejects on unsufficieut grounds. 

2 CKun-chHu, Duke ILd 16th year {Leyge, Classics Vol. V. Pt. I, p. 170). 

3 T'anrj-ku. 

* Sfuin-/un-kinff chap. 9, p. 1 v. 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

Yao shot at them.i Hence they never were seen together any 
more on the same day. 2 

Commonly the " celestial stems " ^ are called suns. From the 
first to the last stem there are ten suns. There are ten suns, as 
there are five planets. Intelligent people and disputing scholars 
are at a loss, how to find out the truth, and do not wish to 
decide in favour of either opinion. Thus tlie two antagonistic 
statements are transmitted without criticism, and neither of the 
two opinions meets with general approval. Yet, if we examine 
the question thoroughly, there are not ten suns. 

The sun is like the moon. If there be ten suns, are there 
twelve moons? There are five planets, but tlie five elements : * 一 
metal, wood, water, lire, and earth all burn with a different liglit. 
Should there be ten suus, their fluids ought to be different. Now, 
we do not discover any difference in the light of the sun, and we 
find that his size is the same at different times. If there were 
really different fluids, the light would certainly be different. If, 
on the other Land, the fluid is identical, it must be united into 
one sun, and there cannot be ten. 

We see that with a sun-glass fire is drawn from heaveu, the 
sun being a big fire. Since ou earth fire is one fluid, and the earth 
lias not ten fires, how can heaven possess ten suns ? Perhaps the 
so called ten suns are some other things, whose light and shape 
resembles that of tlie sun. They are staying iu tlie " Hot Water 
Abyss," and always climb up Fu-sang. Yii and Yi^ saw them, 
and described tliem as ten suns. 

Some people have measured the liglit of the sun, and cal- 
culated his size. They found tlie diameter to be 1,000 Li long. 
Provided that the rising sun is tlie sun on the Fu-sang tree, this 
tree must overhang 10,000 Li to cover the sun, for tlie diameter 
of one sun being 1,000 Li, ten suns will require 10,000 Li. 

Heaven is more than 10,000 Li distant from us. 

When we look up at the sun, liis brilliancy is so dazzling, 
and his glare so bright, that it becomes unbearable, li' the rising 

1 According to other accounts Yao ordered his minister I'i, a famous archer, 
to shoot at the suns, of which he destroyed nine. 

2 Tlie appearance of ten suns is mentioned in many ancient works : ― in 
Chuang Tse, the Li-suo, the " Bamboo Annals,^' the Tso-chuan, etc. 

3 The ten cyclical signs. 

• The five elements are considered to be the substances of the Five Planets, 
which have been named after them : -— Metal Star (Venus), Wood Star (Jupiter), etc. 
•。 Ci: p. 330. 

On the Sun. 


sun was the sun from the Fu-mng tree, Yil and Yi would not have 
been able to recognise him as the sun. A look at one sun would 
have sufficed to dazzle the eyes, how much more so, if there were 
ten suns. When Yil and Yi saw the suns, they appeared to tlieni 
like pecks and round baskets, therefore tliey called tliem suns. 
The fires looked like pecks and baskets, but an object seen at a 
distance of 60,000 Li appears diflferent from one looked at and 
examined quite near. Consequently what Yil and Yi saw they took 
for suns, but were not suns. 

Among the things of heaven and earth many resemble one 
auotlier in substance, yet they are not the same in fact. Beyond 
the ocean in the south-west there is a pearl-tree J It lias pearls, 
but they are not fish-pearls.^ Tlie ten suns are like pearls of the 
pearl-tree. The pearls of the pearl-tree look like pearls, but are 
not real pearls. Thus the ten suns look like the sun, but are not 
real suns. Huai Nan Tse having read the Shan-hai-king wrongly 
asserted tliat for a Sage ten suns were lighted, and made the random 
statement that at Yao's time ten suns rose together. 

The sun is fire, the " Hot Water Abyss ,, water. Water and 
fire anuibilate one another. Therefore the ten suns bathing in the 
" Hot Water Abyss " should have been extiDguislied and destroyed. 
Fire burns trees, Fu-sang is a tree. When ten suas rested upon 
it, it ought to be parched and scorched up. However, in spite 
of the bath in 1' ang-ku the light did not become extinguished, and 
tliougli the suns ascended Fit-sang^ its boughs were not scorched 
or parclied. The ten suns are like the sun which rises to-day, yet 
they cannot be tested by the five elements. Hence we infer that 
they were not real suns. 

When Yii and Yi belield ten suns, it cannot have been night- 
tinie, but must liave been day. When one sun rose, the other nine 
must have been left behind, lunv could they rise all ten together?* 
It must have been like dawn before the sunrise, 

FurtlieriDore, heaven turns and passes through a certain number 
of degrees. If tlie various suns follow this movement, and turn 

1 Presumably a coral-tree in the Persian Sea is meant. 

2 The Chinese imagine that pearls or the produce of lish, not of shells 
or oysters. 

3 If they were of the same stuff as our sun, viz, fire, they would have been 
extinguished in water, and have burned the wood of the Fusang tree. Since they 
did not do that, they cannot have been real suns like ours. 

4 The one sun in the upper branches of the Fu-sang tree must have risen 
prior to the nine others still lingering in the lower branches. 

.' As far as llie iiiiic suns are concerned, which were still below tlie horizon. 

Lull - Heiig. 



Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

rouuci witli heaven, liow could tiiey remain in tlie branches of 
Fu-saug or in the water of the "Hot Water Abyss? " In case they 
stay back, they miss the movement, and dilFerences in the inovement 
would bring disharmony. If, therefore, the rising sun be diilerent 
from the ten suns, tliey only resemble suns, but are not suns. 

During the ' Spring and Autumn ' period on the hsin mao 
day, iu the fourth month of summer, in the seventh year of Duke 
CImang at midnight the common stars were invisible, and stars fell 
down like rain."^ 

Kung Yang in liis commentary asks: ― Wliat does " like rain ,, 
mean ? It is not raiu. - Then, why use this expression ? " The un- 
revised CK un-clt iu ,, says, " It rained stars, which previous to ap- 
proaching to vvitliin a foot of the earth departed again." The Sage 
corrected this, and said, "The stars fell down like rain." 2 

" The uiirevisecl Cliun-cli iu " refers to the time, when the Cli un- 
ci t m was not yet revised. At that time the Chronicle of Lu had 
the following entry: ― " Tlie stars fell dowu like rain. They came 
near the earth at a distance of over a foot, and tlien departed 
again." Tlie Sage is Confucius. Confucius revised it, and said "The 
stars fell like rain." His idea was tliat on the earth there are 
mountains, hills, and liigli buildings, and he was afraid lest the 
statement about the stars coming near the eartli at a distance of 
over a foot should not be true. Therefore lie made an alteration, 
and said " like rain." Being like rain they came down ("rem above 
the earth. The stars also fall down from heaven and depart again. 
On account of this similarity lie says "like." Although there was 
the notice that tlie stars came near the eartli at a distance of over 
a foot, he merely said "like rain/' The expression "falling" wliicli 
he uses refers to those stars. Though lie assigned them their places, 
and fixed the text, lie speaks of the falling- stars In the same way 
as the Chronicle does. 

When from the plain we look up at Mount T^ai, and behold 
a crane on its summit, it appears to us as big as a crow-, and a 
crow, like a sparrow. It is the height of Mount T al and its dis- 
tance which cause us to lose the true estimate of the size of things. 

' Cf. CKun-cKiu [Legge^ Classics Vol. V, Pt. I, p. 7!)). The seventh year of 
Duke (Jliuanfj of Lu is 680 li.c. 

2 A (|Uotation from Kuny Yanf/s coiniuentary to the (,! (un-chiu. 

3 Hiid tlic distance of those meteors not been more than one loot from tlic 
surface of the earth, they would inevitably have collided with the elevations of tiic 
earth, such as iiiouiitaiiis, l)uildi"g-s, etc. Therefore ( '(nif nevus omitted tlie remark of 
the original text. 

On the Sun, 


The distance of heaven from earth amounts to upwards of 60,000 Li, 
which is not only the height and the distance of the summit of 
3I()unt T at. The stars are fixed to heaven. When we examine 
tliom, Ave do not obtain a correct idea of their nature, for the con- 
ditions, under wliicli we see tliem, are still more unfavourable tlian 
those, under wliich we look at tlie crane or the crow. By cal- 
culations we find tliat the size of the stars must be a hundred Li. 
Their brilliancy is so strong, that tliey shed light. If, nevertheless, 
they appear to us only as big as a phoenix egg, we have lost the 
true estimate by distance. 

Let us suppose that the falling stars are in fact stars falling 
from lieaven, then we would not be able to recognise tliem as stars, 
when they approach the earth, because during their fall their size 
is not the same as that whicli they have in heaven. Now, as long- 
as w'c see the falling stars in heaven, tliey are stars, if they are 
not, they are made up of air. We see ghosts having the semblance 
of dead people. In reality it is but air condensed into those forms, 
not real dead people. Thus tlie falling stars are in reality not 
sliaped like stars. Confucius correctly calls them falling, w】iicli means 
that they are not stars, and rightly characterises tliem as being 
like rain, L e, tliey are not rain, both features being opposed to 
the real nature of stars. 

The Tso-chuan remarks on the above quoted passage of the 
(,h、m-c】i iu, "Oil the hsin-mao day, in the fourth moon during the 
night the common stars were not visible, because the night was 
bright. The stars fell like rain /. e. together with rain." This re- 
mark that the stars were invisible owing to tlie briglitness of tlie 
nig] it tallies with a passage in the Yiking^^ to the effect that at 
inid-day the Dipper^ is visible. If during tlie day tlie Dipper is 
visible, it must be dark, not bright, and if during the night the 
stars were invisible, the night must have been bright and clear. 
The facts were different, but tlie idea is the same, and it is con- 
sistent with truth. 

The Tso chuan says " together with rain," which is tantamount 
to " combined." On the hsin-mao day the night was bright, tliere- 
i'ore the stars were invisible, but this brightness sliows that there 
was uo rain. The rain fluid is dark and obscure, how could there 
be brightness than? There being brightness, rain is impossible, 
how could the stars fall together with raiu? " Consequently the 

1 The meteors never measure a hundred Li. 

2 Yiking^ 55th diagram {Feng)^ Legges transl. p. 336. 
A constellation. 



Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

expression " together with rain ,, is wrong. Moreover, if it be said 
that the night was so bright, that the stars became invisible, how 
could the stars falling together with rain be seen? 

"On the wu-shen day of the first month in the 16tli year of 
Duke Hsi five, stones fell down in Sung." i The Tso-cli 稱 u remarks 
that tliey were stars. Since falling stones are called stars, those 
stars are believed to have become stones by falling The stars 
falling in the hsin-mao night were stars, but in reality stones then. 
If the stars falling in the hsin-mao night were like those stones, 
the earth had high buildings, wliicli must have been smashed. 
Although Confucius omitted to mention that the stars came near the 
earth as far as one foot, there certainly has been a certain distance 
from the earth, and the bistorigrapher of 1m、 who saw the event 
with liis own eyes, would not have said so at random. 

According to the Tso-chuan tlie stars fell down together with 
rain. As rain collects on tlie earth, the stones must have done so 
likewise, but, since, when tliey touched the earth, they did not 
demolish the buildings, it is evident tliat they were not stars. 
Besides, on what does Tso CJiiu Ming base his statement that tlie 
stones were stars? When the stones came down, tlieir fall was 
very light, but why must they have fallen down from heaven? 

During the Cliin epoch three mountains disappeared. Partly 
tliey were not dispersed, but collapsed, where they stood, which 
must have caused a great noise. Perhaps at that time the mountain 
of the I Ti went off its base, and came down in Sung. When the 
people of Sung heard tlie stones fall, tliey called them stars, and 
wlien Tso Cliiu Ming had examined tliem, lie also gave them tins 

The substance of the stars is identical with tliat of the various 
tilings and like that of tlie sun and the moon. The so-called Five 
Planets are the light of tlie substance of the five elements. The 
Five Planets and the other stars all have the same light, there- 
Core I am afraid that we miss tlie truth, if wo regard the fixed 
stars alone as stones. Tn reality tlie stars wliicli fell during tlie 
hsin-mao night were like rain, but tliey were not stars, just as the 
ten suns in the " Hot Water Abyss ,, resembled the sun, but were 
not real suns. 

Tlie Literati also maintain that tlio expression that rain comes 
I'roin heaven means that it positively falls down from heaven, llow- 

' Quoted from the Ch'im-cKiu Vol. V, Pt. I, p. 170). The event took 

place ill 643 b. (;. 

On the Sun. 


ever, a discussion on this subject leads us to the conclusion tliat rain 
comes from above the earth, but not down from heaven. Seeing 
the rain gathering from above, we simply say that it comes down 
from heaven. As a matter of fact, it comes from above the eartli. 
But how can 、ve demonstrate that the rain comes from the earth, 
and rises from the mountains? The Commentary to the CK un-cli iu^ 
says, " It breaks through the stones one to two inches thick, and 
gathers. That in one clay's time it spreads over tlie whole Empire, 
is only the case with the T'ai-shan." — From tlie T'ai-shan it rains 
over the whole Empire, from small mountains over one State, the 
distance depends on the height. As regards the forthcoming of 
tlie rain from the mountains, some hold that the clouds carry the 
rain with tliera. When the clouds disperse, the water falls down, 
and is called rain. Thus the clouds are rain, and rain, clouds. 
When the water comes forth, it is trausformed into clouds ; they 
condense, and become rain, and, when they are compressed still 
more, coagulate into dew. When garments are moistened as with 
rain, it is not the effect of the clouds, but of the rain which they 

Some persons will refer to the ShuTcing which says, " When 
the moon follows the stars, there is wind a'nd rain,"^ and to the 
Sinking, where we read that " The moon approaches tlie Hyades, 
which will bring heavy showers of rain."* They all believe that 
according to these passages of the two Classics it is not heaven 
which is causing the rain. How is that? 

When the rain comes from the mountains, the moon passes 
tlie stars, and approaches tlie Hyades. When she approaches the 
Hyades, it must rain. As long as it does not rain, the moon does 
not approach, and the mountains have no clouds. Heaven and 
earth, above and below, act in spontaneous harmony. When the 
moon approaches above., the mountains are heated below, and the 
fluid unites. The fortuitous connexion between the various fluids 
and bodies is due to spontaneity. Clouds and fog show that 
there is rain. In summer it becomes dew, in winter frost. Warm 
it is rain, cold, snow. Rain, dew, and frost all proceed from earth, 
and do not descend from heaven. 

1 Kung Tariff's Commentary, Duke Hsi 31st year. 
- The highest peak in Shantung. 

3 Shuking, Hiniff-fnn, Pt. V, Bk. IV, 38 {Leffge Vol. UI, Pt. II, p. 342). 

4 Shikinff Pt. II, Bk. VIII, Ode 8 、Legge Vol. IV, Pt. II, p. 422). 


Lun -Heng: C. Physical. 

On Heat and Cold {Han-wen). 

People reasoning on heat and cold assert that, when the 
sovereign is pleased, it is warm, and, wlien lie is angry, it is cold. 
How is that ? 

Joy and anger originate in tlie bosom. Subsequently they 
find their way out, and once outside, are the causes of rewards and 
punishments, rewards and punisliments being the manifestations of 
joy and anger. When heat and cold are sufficiently strong, things 
become withered, and men are injured, and that is done by heat 
and cold, which are said to be the representatives of joy and anger. 

Within the course of a few days a sovereign is not always 
full of joy or anger, which sentiments having broken forth from 
the bosom, expand and appear as heat and cold outside, thus showing 
the feelings of the bosom. When the sovereign is pleased or angry, 
this fluid of liis bosom is not changed into heat or cold. Why 
should tlie fluid in liis bosom be different from the fluid witliiii tlie 
territory of a country ? The fluid of the bosom is not transformed 
through joy or anger, how then should heat and cold originate 
within the territory? 

During the time of the Six States, ^ and the Cli in niul Ilan 
epoch the feudal princes were subjugating one another, arinoiir-clad 
warriors filling all tlie roads. Tlie States were investing each otlier 
with the greatest animosity, and their leaders thought of nothing' 
else til an of vanquishing their enemies. A feeling of universal 
slaughter pervaded everything. Yet at that time it was not always 
cold in the Empire. Tlie time of Yil was one of universal peace. 
The government was good, the people contented, and the sovereign 
always pleased. In every house tliey were playing tlie guitar, 
singing, beating drums, and (lancing. Yet at that time it was not 
constantly warm in the Empire. Is the feel in of" joy and anger 
evoked by small things only, and does it not care for great ones? 
How is it so little in accordance with the deeds done? 

1 Yen, Chao, Ilcin, Wei, (Mi and CKu, which in H32 u.c. made an offensive 
and defensive alliance to check tlie encroacliiiients of the CNin State, but by and by 
the latter overpowered and absorbed tlicni all. 

On Heat and Cold. 


Near the water it is cold, near the fire warm, the heat and 
the cold decrease in proportion to the distance, for the ([uaiitit y 
of tlif、 fluid varies according to the distance. Tlie seat of the fire 
is always in the south, that of the water in the north,' tliereforr 
the northern region is cold, and the southern limit hot. 

The fire in a stove, the water in a ditch, and the lluid in the 
human body are all governed by the same principle. When the 
sovereign is pleased or angry, this fluid of heat or cold ought to 
be especially strong in his private apartments, and much less so 
outside his territoiy. Now the temperature is the same without and 
Avitliin, consequently it cannot well be the result of" the sovereign's 
joy or anger, and the assertions of our scholars to that effect are futile. 

With an emperor a sudden change of the mental fluid takes 
place in the empire, with princes in their territory, with ministers 
and high officers in their department, and with common people 
in their house. Since even ordinary people are liable to such 
changes, their joy and tlieir anger must also produce such fluids 
(as heat and cold). The lather quarrels with the son, and hus- 
band and wife reprove one another. It' there ought to be anger, 
but auger be turned into joy, or if faults be Ibrgiven, and the 
wrong done liuslietl up, there would be cold and hfeat in the same 
house. This shows us tliat the sudden changes (of temperature) 
are not being caused by joy and auger. 

Some one will say that there is attraction by affinity. If a 
man be pleased, lie is kind and genial, and in 】iis Iviiidiiess gives 
rewards. The Yang principle is giving, and the Yang tluid is warm, 
therefore tlie warm fluid corresponds to it. If a man be angry, 
he is enraged and indignant, and in his rage puts people to death. 
The Yin principle is cold murder, and the Yin fluid is cold, there- 
fore the cold fluid corresponds to it. " When the tiger howls, the 
、vind blows from the valley, and when tlie dragon performs its 
antics, the brilliant clouds rise." 2 Their 11 a ids being identical, and 
their species the same, they attract one another. Hence the saying 
that with the body one removes the shadow, and that with the 
dragon one attracts the I'aiu, The rain responds to the dragon 
and comes, the shadow responds to the body and goes. The nature 

1 According to ancient natural philosophy. Consequently temperature cannot 
be the result of the feelings of the sovereign. 

2 A quotation from Huai Nan Tse III, 2, with a slight variation of the text. 

3 Therefore during a drought clay figures of dragons are set up and worship- 
ped to attract the rain. Cf. p. 55, No. 47. 

* "I iz. with the hody. 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

of heaven and earth is spontaneity. In autumn and winter punish- 
ments are meted out. Smaller misdemeanours are partly pardoned, 
but the capital punishments cause a bitter cold. The cold comes 
as an accompaniment of punishment, which shows that they attract 
one another. 

If heat and cold be compared with wind and clouds, and joy 
and anger refer to the dragon and the tiger, a mutual attraction 
might be possible, provided that the fluids be tlie same and the 
categories similar; When the tiger howls, the wind rises from the 
valley, and when the dragon gambols, the clouds rise within a 
radius of one hundred Li, but in other valleys aud other regions 
there is no wind nor clouds. Now, sudden changes of temperature 
take place everywhere, and at the same time. There may be exe- 
cutions within a territory of a hundred Li, but it is cold witliin 
a thousand Li, consequently this could not well be considered a 
proof of a connexion between the two events. CJii and Lu were 
conterminous, and gave rewards and punishments at the same time. 
Had CUi rewarded, while Lu punished, the effects would have been 
different also. Could then the CKi State have been warm, whereas 
it was cold at the same time in tlie Lu country? 

In former times nobody was more cruel in punishing than 
Cli ih Yu and the doomed prince of Ch' in. The subjects of Cliih Yu 
were most perverse aud dissolute, and in doomed C/iin red clad 
criminals were walking on tlie roads shoulder to shoulder, and yet 
at that time it was not always cold in the Empire. On the market 
of the emperor's capital oxen and sheep were slaughtered every 
day by hundreds. He who executes man as well as lie who kills 
animals lias a wicked heart. Albeit, the air on the market place 
of the capital cannot always be cold. 

One might object that a man is far superior to animals, and 
that man alone provokes tlie fluid. However, does the one wlio 
puts to death provoke the (luid, or do those, who are put to death, 
cause the change? In the first case, no matter, whether the one 
who inflicts tlie death penalty executes a man, or kills an animal, 
the mind is the same, and in the latter men and beasts are both 
creatures. They all belong to the ten thousand beings, and would 
not a hundred mean ones be worth as much as one precious one? 

Some people will maintain that a sovereign alone can evoke 
the fluid, but not common people. If, to set tlie fluid in motion. 

1 Cf. p. 148 Note 7. 

2 An attraction between joy and heat, anger and cold. 

3 Ch ill Shih Huang Ti. 

On Heat and Cold. 


a sovereign is required, Avliy does the 、vorkl make so mucli of Tsoti 
Yen? Tsou Yen Avas a commoner, and yet lie could move the fluid 
quite alone, as everybody admits. ' 

When one man is put to death, the air becomes cold, but, 
when a man is born, does tlie temperature become warm then? 
When a general amnesty is granted to the four quarters, and all 
punishments are remitted at the same time, tlie fluid of the mouth 
and the year does not become warm thereby. 

In former years thousands of people have had their houses 
burnt, so that the flames and the smoke went up to heaven, and 
the Yellow River broke through its dykes, flooding a thousand Li, 
so that far and wide there was no bound to the prospect. Fire 
is identical witli the liot fluid, and water with the cold one. At 
the time of the conflagration or the inundation of the Yellow River 
it has not been warm or cold. The setting in of heat and cold do 
not depend on governmeut, I dare say, but eventually heat and cold 
may be simultaneous with rewards and punishments, and it is for 
this reason that the plienomenalists ^ describe them as such. 

Spring is warm, summer hot, autumn cool, and winter cold. 
These four seasons are spontaneous, and do not concern the sover- 
eign. The four seasons are not caused by government, but they 
say that lieat and cold correspond to it. At the beginning of the 
first month ami subsequently at the " commencement of spring ,, 
all the punishments have been meted out, and the prisons remain 
empty. Yet one day it is cold, and one day warm. What manner 
of punishment is being inflicted, when it is cold, and what kind 
of rewards are given, when it is warm ? We see from this that 
heat and cold correspond to the time periods of heaven and earth, ^ 
and are not made by men. 

When people are suffering from a cold or from fever, their 
actions have no influence upon these diseases. By exposure to^he 
wind, or to bad air their body has become chilly or feverish. By 
changing their habits, or altering their style of life they do not 

1 When T.sOM Yen, a scholar of the 4th cent, b.c, had been put into prison 
upon a trumped up charge, he looked up to heaven and wept. All of a sudden 
snow began to fall, although it was midsummer. See also p. 194. 

2 A class of scholars, often mentioned in the Lun-heng, who seem to have 
devoted themselves to the study of natural phenomena and calamities, such as heat 
and cold, inundations, droughts, famines, etc. to which, howewer, they did not ascribe 
natural, but moral causes, misled by the pseudo-science of the Yiking and similar works. 

3 Of which the Chinese distinguish 24, beginning with li-cKun " commencement 
of spring." They count from the days on which the sun enters the first and fifteenth 
degree of one of the zodiacal signs. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

get rid of their cold or their fever. Althougli the body is quite 
near, it cannot bring about a change and a cure. Now a city ov 
a State is much more distant, how should it be possible to regu- 
late tlieir fluids? 一 When a man has caught cold, lie drinks medi- 
cine, which soothes Lis pain, and wlieu, being somewhat weak, he 
has got fever, he swallows pills, which make him perspire, and 
thus cure him. 

In Yen there was the " Cold Valley " in which the five kinds 
of grain did not grow. Tsou Yen blew the flute, and the " Cold 
Valley " could be cultivated. The people of Yen sowed millet in 
it, and called it " Millet Valley." If this be true that witli playing 
the flute the cold fluid was dispelled, how could this calamity be 
averted by a change of government or action? Therefore, a cold 
and fever cannot be cured but witli medicine, aud tlie fluid of the 
" Millet Valley " cannot be transformed but witli music. 

When Yao was visited witli tlie Great Flood, lie ordered Yil 
to regulate it. Cold and heat are essentially the same as the Great 
Flood. ' Yao did not change his administration or conduct, being- 
well aware that the Great Flood was not the result of government 
or conduct. Since the Flood was not brought about by govern- 
ment or conduct, we know that heat aud cold cannot be caused 
by government either. 

Some one might in disproof quote from the " Various Veri- 
fications " of the llang-fan wliicli says that " excitement is as a rule 
accompanied by cold, and- cheerfulness by tepidity."^ Accompanied 
means : followed, tepidity: warmth, and "as a rule: " always. 
When the sovereign is excited, cold weather always follows, when 
he is cheerful, warm weather follows. Cold and lieat correspond 
to exiutement and cheerfulness, how can tlieir connexion Avitli tlie 
government be denied ? Does the Classic say that excitement causes 
no cold, and clieerfulness no warmth ? 

Tlie sovereign being excited or clieerful, cold or heat set in, 
but by chance and of tlieir own accord. If tliey correspondod in- 
tentionally, it would be like the obtaining of omens by divining 
with shells, or like tlie finding of nuralxM's by telling tlie fortune 
from straws. People piv'tend tliat lieavcn and eartli respond to 
tlic (juesf ions addressed to tliein, but, as a matter of fact, it is 
nothing but <:li:im'('. 1 1 t a nd cold ivs])ond to excitement and 
cheerfulness, as omens and numbers are tlic response to the in- 

' Tliey are all natural plieiiomeiia. 

'- Sh tkimj, Ilung.fmi Pt. V, Bk. IV, 31 {Uf/,je Vol. Ill, Pt. II, p. 340). 

On Heat and Cold. 


quiries of the diviners. Externally tliey seem to respond, but actu- 
ally it is hazard. How can Ave prove that? 

The principle of heaven is spontaneity. Spontaneity means 
absence of purpose. When the. two kinds of divination are applied, 
tilings may meet eventually, or happen by accident, and perhaps 
coincide with human a flairs. The heavenly fluid is there already, 
therefore one may speak of a principle. Should it correspond to 
government, however, there would be no more spontaneity. 

Cking 1 has distributed the 64 symbols of the Yiking over one 
year. One symbol rules over 6 days and ?/!。. The symbols consist 
of Yin and Yang.- The fluid rises and falls. When the Yaug fluid 
rises, it becomes warm, and, when tlie Yin fluid rises, it becomes 
cold. According- to this theory heat and cold depend on the sym- 
bols, but do not correspond to government. In accordance with 
the " Avu-waog " symbol ^ of the Yiking, inundations and droughts 
have fixed times. All the innumerable calamities and disasters are 
of the same kind. 

I am afraid that the phenomenalists have missed tlie truth 
for the following- reason : ~ -" The ideal man is endowed with the 
same virtue as heaven aud earth. When man takes the lead, lieaven 
does not disagree with him, and when he follows heaven, lie re- 
spects heaven's time." * The Hung-fan on the other hand says that 
" excitement is as a rule accompanied by cold, and cheerfulness by 
tepidity." According to this passage, of the Ilung-fan tlie heavenly 
fluid follows man. The Yiking however only says that, when man 
takes the lead, heaven does not disagree witli him. But why does 
it add that, when he follows heaven, he respects heaven's time? 
To follow means that heaven was already cold or hot before, and 
til at man followed with his rewards and punishments afterwards. 
This statement of men does not agree with the Shuking. That is 
my first doubt. 

Citing determines heat and cold by the Yin and tlie Yang fluids 
ascending and descending, whereas tlie phenomenalists lay all the 
stress on punishments, joy and auger. The two schools walk dif- 
ferent ways. That is my second doubt. 

Wlien people determine lieat and cold, it may be cold to-day, 
and warm to-morrow, or at dawn tliere is plenty of hoar-frost, 

1 Ching Fang, a metaphysician of the 1st cent. b.c., who spent much labour 
on the elucidation of the Yiking. 

2 Marked by broken and unbroken lines. 

3 The 25th hexagram of the Yiking. 

* Quotation from the Yiking, 1st diagram {CKien). Cf. pp. 98 and 128. 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

and in the evening resplendent light, or one morning is rainy, but 
warm, aud another bright and cold. Now rain is Yin, and bright- 
ness Yang、 and conversely cold is Yin, and warmth is Yang. A rainy- 
day may clear up, and become cold, and a bright day become 
rainy, and warm. The categories do not correspond correctly. That 
is my third doubt. 

These three doubts are not set at rest, and the principle of 
spontaneity is not upheld either. 

On Thunder and Lightning. 


On Thunder and Lightning (Lei-hsu). 

In midsummer thunder and lightning rapidly following each 
other, split trees, demolish houses, and occasionally kill men. Com- 
mon people arc of opinion that, when the lig-btning strikes a tree, 
or demolishes a house, Heaven fetches a dragon, whereas, when a 
man is killed, they say that it is for his hidden faults. If in eating 
and drinking people use impure things, Heaven becomes angry, and 
strikes them dead. The. deep rolling sound is the expression of 
Heaven's anger like the breathing and gasping of angry men. Every 
one, no matter whether intelligent or stupid, says so. But if we 
look into the matter, taking human nature as a basis, we find that 
all this is nonsense. 

By a thunder-stroke one fluid is set in motion, and one sound 
produced. 1 A tree is hit, and a dwelling damaged, and at the same 
time a man may be killed. When a man is slain, a tree may be 
struck, and a house damaged also. But they assert that, when a 
tree is struck, and a house damaged, Heaven fetches a dragon, 
whereas, when it kills a man, it punishes him for liis hidden 
guilt. In tliat case something inauspicious would clash with the 
auspicious fetching of the dragon.^ That both things should happen 
at the same moment, and with the same sound, would not be proper. 

It has been argued that the rolling is the sound of Heaven's 
growling. That would be appropriate for the punishment of the 
guilty, but out of place for fetching dragons. In meting' out pun- 
isliment, Heaven may be angry, but, when it fetches a dragon, 
what fault has it, that it should be irritated like that? Provided 
that the dragon be a spirit, then Heaven in fetching it, ought not 
to be angry. If, however, a clragoa has faults, which are to be 
atoned for like those of inaii, Heaven would kill it, but why must 
it still fetch it? While destroying a man, Heaven may be iu wrath, 
but, when it fetches a dragon, what wrong has the dragon done, 
that Heaven should be so enraged at it? Having smitten a man, 
Heaven does not fetch him. If under the same circumstances it 

1 The same force destroys the tree, the house, and the man. 
- The dragon is accounted a saei'ed animal. 


Lun-Heiig: C. Physical, 

does so witli a dragon, what difference is there between human 
guilt and that of dragons? If botli are put to death, where does 
a difference come in? We can no more accept tlie assertion that 
Heaven fetches dragons, than approve of the idea that the guilty 
meet with their dues for the following reasons: 

When the tliunder instantaneously follows upon the lightning, 
and a inau falls to the ground dead, the rolling sound is close 
above his liead, which brings about his death. But is the rolling 
really Heaven's anger? If so, in its wrath, it woidd kill a man 
by the angiy breath of its moutli. But Low can the angry breath 
of a moutli kill a man? Oii examining the body of a man, who 
has been struck by a thunderbolt, one discovers traces of burning. 
Provided that Heaven used its mouth in its anger, could its angry 
breath become fiery then ? 

Moreover, the mouth is connected with the body, and its move- 
ments must be the same as those of tlie body. When lightning 
strikes, the sound is on the earth, and, when the Avork of destruc- 
tion is done, it is again in the sky. Now, tlie moment, when the 
sound is on the earth, the mouth must approach it, aud tlie body 
do tlie same. But, if at a thunder-clap we look up to Heaven, we 
do not see it descending. Since we do not see it come clown, 
the rolling sound cannot be the expression of Heaven's anger. 

Heaven's anger cannot be diirerent from tliat of man. When 
an angry person comes near anybody, his voice sounds loud, wlieii 
lie is for off, 】iis voice seems low. Now, Heaven's voice is near, 
but its body far away. Tlierefoi'e, anger is out of tlie question. 

When the peals of tlmnder rapidly suc.ceed one another, the 
sound may be in tlie East, the West, the North or the South. 
Provided that Heaven be angry and move its body, then, if its 
moutli is in an eastern, western, northern, or southern direction, 
looking up we ought to see Heaven in one of these directions 

Some one might object that Heaven really was in one of these 
directions, but could not be seen by man owing to the obscurity, 
caused l)y t lie clouds and tlie rain. Yet over a distance of a thousand 
Li there are not the same winds, and within a hundred Li tliere 
is not the same tempest. As the Yiking has it: ― "A hundred Li 
are friglitcned by the concussion." i The region where the tliun- 
derstorin is raging, is darkened by tlic t】im"】(u'-dou(ls and tlie rain, 
but beyond a liumlnni Li, where no rain is falling, one ought to 

Yiking Book V, ( Ithi Hexagram (No. .')!). 

On Thunder and Liglitning. 


see Heaven moving eastward, westward, iiortli- or southward. The 
mouth being joined to Heaven, Heaven must follow it. Whenever 
the mouth moves, the entire Heaven must shift its place also, and 
it is not only where the teinpest rages, that Heaven follows the 
movements of its mouth. 

And who is it, .whom we believe to he angry ? Tlie Spirit 
of Heaven or the dark blue sky ? if we say, the Spirit of Heaven, 
an angry spirit can give no sound, and, if we say, the dark blue 
sky, its body cannot become angiy, for anger requires a mouth. 

Heaven and Earth are like husband and wife, they are father 
and motlier of mankind. Now, let a sou liave committed a fault, 
and his father in a fit of passion beat liiin to deatli, would not 
his mother weep for him ? When Heaven in its wrath slays a man, 
Eartli ought albo to cry over liiin, but oue only hears of Heaven's 
anger, and never of Earth's crying. If Eartli caunot shed tears, 
Heaven cannot be angry either. 

Furthermore, anger must liave its counterpart in joy. Men 
liave liidden faults, but they liave also latent virtues. Hidden faults 
in a man call forth Heaven's anger, wliicli prompts it to kill him, 
but in case of latent virtues Heaven ought also to requite liirn 
with good. If the rolling sound is regarded as an expression of 
Heaven's anger, Heaven, \\'lien pleased, ought to give a hearty laugli. 

Men are pleased or angry, therefore the same is said of Heaven. 
We try to get a conception of Heaven by ascribing human qualities 
to it. The source of this knowledge of Heaven is man. If man 
would feel no anger, there is no reason either, why Heaven should. 
Since our knowledge of Heaven is derived from that of man, liumaii 
uature in its entirety must be tali en as basis. A man, when angry, 
breathes heavily, when pleased, lie sings and laughs. We much less 
often hear of Heaven's joy, than of its anger, and much more 
seldom see it reward, than piuiisli. Is Heaven always irritated 
and never content? Does it mete out punishment pretty freely, 
but is rather sparing of its rewards? How does its anger and viu- 
cUctiveness become manifest, wliereas there are no instances of its 
joy and liberality? 

When liglituing strikes, it liits a tree, damages a house, and 
eventually kills a man. This is looked upon as Heaven's anger. But 
not unfrequeutly a thunder-clap is without ellect, causing no damage, 
and destroying no liumau life. Does Heaven in such a case indulge 
in useless anger ? A sovereign's joy and anger are not in vain. Being 
pleased or angry, he will certainly reward or punish. Useless anger 
without punishment would be uii becoming in Heaven. Doing some- 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

thing unseeming, it would lose its dignity thereby. That is not 
Heaven's way. 

The writers on government hold tliat cold and heat coincide 
with joy and anger. When the sovereign is pleased, tlis weather 
is mild, when lie is augry, it is cold. Then on the day of a thunder- 
storm the temperature ought to be cold. 

Before Han Kao Tsu was born, Dame Lm^ wliile sleeping on 
the banks of a big pond had intercourse with a spirit in her dream. 
At that time there was thunder and lightning, and a great dark- 
ness. Heaven was just then emitting its fluid, and ought to have 
been pleased, 2 why was it irritated and thundering? 

If striking and breaking is construed as a sign of Heaven's 
anger, and not striking or breaking as a sign of Heaven's joy, tlie 
rolling noise would not be appropriate in both cases, Man ex- 
presses joy and anger by different sounds, if Heaven used the same 
sound for two different purposes, there would be a fundamental 
difference between him and man. From wliat circumstance then 
could we infer Heaven's anger? 

To give otlier persons impure things to eat is a small offence. 
For Heaven to oliastise sucli small ofl'enders in person witli its 
own most precious body, would be derogatory to its majesty. 
Exalted persons do not punish personally, therefore does the em- 
peror not execute the criminals with liis own luiiid. Heaven is 
more exalted than the emperor. If it punislied small misdemeanours 
itself, its virtue would be inferior to that of tlie emperor. 

Heaven's sentiments must be similar to man's feelings. When 
a prince punishes the wicked, he upon first hearing of their crime, 
becomes furious and coiidenis them, but when it comes to taking 
their lives, lie commiserates and pities tliem. Therefore the Aiialecis 
say " W hen you have found out tlic truth, be grieved and ])ity 
them, aud do not feel joy/'* Chou was utterly depraved, yet, when 
Wu Wang was going to put him to death, lie deplored and pitied 
him. Thus in the Shuking lie says: ― " 丄 commanded the wild tribes, 
but I am sorry for you."^ A sovereign puts the bad to death. 

1 Tlie iiiotlier of tlie emperor l\ao Tsii. Cf. p. 177. 

2 Heaven as a spirit was just tlieii engendering Han Kao T-sn, the Son of 

In the case of joy as well as of anger. 

4 Analects XIX, 19. Tlie criiiiinal judge Yung Fa having consulted the pliilo- 
soplier 'I'st-ng TV on tlie duties of liis office, the latter advised him to pity tlie of- 
fenders, whose misdeeds were perliaps a consequence of bad ndiiiinistratloti. 

-' Til is passago is nut to be Ibuiid in our text ol' the Shukiny. 

On Thunder and Lightning. 


but with a feeling of commiseration, whereas Heaven in punishing 
misdemeanours, strikes people dead in its rage. Thus Heaven 
would be less merciful than man. 

Rain is believed to be a fluid emitted by Heaven. Put forth 
by Heaven, it becomes moistened, and gives the rain. When the 
rain saturates everything, one speaks of timely showers. Unless 
he be in good humour, man does not show kindness, and unless 
it be pleased, Heaven does not pour down rain. If thunder be 
taken for an expression of Heaven's anger, then raiu must be a 
sign of its joy. When there is tliuncler, it is always accompanied 
by rain. One must suppose, therefore, that Heaven is at the same 
time grumbling and laughing. A sovereign does uot mete out re- 
wards and puiiislimeuts on tlie same clay. Should Heaven's anger 
and joy coincide in time, Heaven and man would not be in harmony, 
and their ways of rewarding and punishing quite different. More- 
over, anger and joy are both fitful. To fly into a fit of passion 
out of disgust at man's conduct, to punish him for bis offence, 
and, in doing so, to be guided by passion, would be unwortly of 

Regarding a tliunderstorm in winter, people assert that the 
Yang fluid has lost its force. When it thunders in spring, tliey 
say, it comes out, but wlieu there is a tempest in summer, instead 
of owning that then the fluid has its greatest force, they speak of 
Heaven's auger. Of course that is nothing but idle talk. 

Man is a creature between Heaven and Earth. Other creatures 
are likewise creatures. What other creatures eat and drink, Heaven 
does not know, and it should be aware of what man eats and 
drinks ? All beings are to Heaven like children. The kindness 
and love of father and motlier to all their cliildren are the same. 
Why then does Heaven watch the nobler and more intelligent 
being so closely, but takes no heed of tlie liumbler and less gifted 
ones ? Why does it pry into all that man does, but ignores other 
creatures ? 

Dogs and pigs eat human excrements, yet Heaven does not 
kill them for that. Provided that Heaven restricts only man on 
account of his superiority, then, if rats contaminate his drink or 
food, and man unwittiugly eat it by mistake, Heaven does uot 
destroy tlie rats. If Heaven can pardon the rats, it can do the 
same for man. Man may by mistake give others impure things to 
eat, and those unaware of it, may eat them. But they will never 
offer rotten things on purpose. Should they do so, the others 
would uot take them. 

Lull - Heng. 19 


Lun -Heng: C. Physical. 

The Empress Lit Hon i cut off Lady Cliis hands, tore out 
her eyes, and placed her in a privy as a human swine. Then she 
called people, and showed them her victim. All felt sick at heart. 
When the emperor Hid Ti saw her. he fell sick, and did not rise 
again. ^ Lii Hon acted on purpose, but Heaven did not punish her. 
If on the other hand Heaven strikes people dead for a mere in- 
advertence without mercy or regard for the faults, its government 
is tyrannical. 

When men eat sometliing impure, they do not discover it 
by the taste. If they feel it, after having swallowed it, tliey call 
it a pollution of their bowels. When Lady C/ii was put into tlie 
cess-pool, her whole body was disgracefully soiled, which is nothing 
else than impurity, for the body does not differ from the bowels. 
To care for the intestines, but disregard the body, to resent im- 
purity, but not to feel the afore-mentionecl horrible disgrace, would 
not be like Heaven. 

The news that anybody lias eaten something uncleau does 
not disturb people's minds, whereas all that saw Lady C/ii felt 
sick at heart. Man being hfirt, Heaven must feel pity too. Com- 
miserating Lady ChU, it must hate Lii I Ion. Notwithstanding, when 
Lu IIou died, she was not struck by a thunderbolt. 

The Taoist Liu CJi un made a fool of the king of CK u, Ying、 
and caused liiin to eat some dirty stuff. Liu Cli im died later on, 
but it needed no lightning to make him die. 

In the 6th mouth of summer of the year 79 a.d. Chin Clman 
of IC uei-chi^ was killed by lightning. Of the sheep wliicli he used 
for 】iis daily meals, five died together with him. What hidden 
faults had these animals, tliat tlie iiglitning killed them? 

Boatmen sometimes pollute a stream up-river, while other people 
drink its water down-river. Yet tlie boatmen do not die by lightning. 

The Spirit of Heaven dwells in 】it、aven just as a king in his 
residence. A king lives behind many gates, therefore the Spirit of 

1 The first wife of llan Kao Tsu, who usurped the imperial power, and reigned 
under her own name against all custom from 187-179 b.c. Her son, the Emperor 
Hui Ti, whose nominal reigti lasted from 194-187 b.c, was nothing but a puppet in 
her hands. Lii IIou was a (lend in human shape, who had always some poison ready 
for her euemies. One of her first acts, after she came to power, was to wreak her 
vengeance on her rival, Lady CKi, a concubine of Han Kao Tm, who liad attempted 
to have her own son made heir-apparent in place of Hui Ti, the son of Lii IIou, 
Hui Ti, a very kind-hearted, but weak sovereign did all in his power to shield lu.s 
half-brother from the wrath of his mother, who poisoned him all the same. 

2 This story is abridged from the Shi-chi chap. 9, p. 3. 

3 A city in dhekiang. 

On Thunder and Lightning. 


Heaven must stay in some secluded place likewise. As the king has 
】iis palaces and halls, Heaven also has the ai-wei, Tse-lmng、 Ihiian- 
yuan and Wm-cli ang mansions, i 

A king being far away from men does not know their occult 
crimes. How could the Spirit of Heaven in 】iis four palaces see 
the secret misdeeds of men ? If a king hears of the faults of his 
subjects, he learns it through others. If Heaven becomes cognizant 
of the crimes of men, it must have it from its angels. In case 
the spirits are Heaven's informants as to crimes, it must also 
entrust the spirits with retributive justice. Such being the case, 
the so-called auger of Heaven is not tliat of Heaven, but of the 

A king inflicts capital punishment in autumn,^ Heaven kills 
in summer. Thus the king in meting out justice, does not observe 
the time of Heaven. As Heaven's anointed he should in executions 
also imitate the example of majestic Heaven. Heaven chooses 
summer for killing, whereas the king executes in autumn. Heaven 
and man are thus at variance, which would never do for Heaven's 

Some people will argue that giving impure things to eat or 
drink is a great crime before Heaven, which in killing the culprit 
does not pay attention to time. Great crimes in the eyes of kings 
ore high-treason, rebellion, and lawlessness, whereas Heaven con- 
siders the offering of unclean things to others as food or drink as 
a serious offence. The crimes condemned by Heaven are of dif- 
ferent gravity. Were the light and the serious ones all equally 
dealt with, the king would have to imitate Heaven's government, 
and put to death every one, who had given others unclean things 
to eat or drink. When the holy emperors were ruling, they had 
not sucli a penalty. That would mean that the holy emperors 
wero remiss, and liad forgotten this punishment. 

It may be said that the ghosts have power over what is se- 
cret, and that a king's sway extends over what is public only. 
vSecret faults are wrapt iu darkness and invisible to man, therefore 
spirits must be employed to watch over tliem. I reply, there being 

1 Names of constellations. 

2 In China the regular executions take place in autumn. 

3 It destroys the guilty on the spot, and does not delay judgment until 

4 A dfduclio ad a"surdum from a Chinese point of view, for the holy emperors, 
1 do, Shun, and the like, were perfect, and could not have omitted to punish serious 



Lun -Heng: C. Physical. 

not only one secret fault, why are not all the offenders put to 
death ? To fix upon one single offence would not be a just retribu- 
tion for hidden sins. 

Heaven vents its auger, before the sun returns, and an out- 
burst of human ire takes less than tlie time one needs to turn 
round upon one's heels. ^ However, secret crimes of men often 
become manifest in winter and not exclusively in summer. If lie 
who misconducts himself in winter, is not struck by thunder forth- 
with, but must wait till summer, Heaven's wratli cannot be quicker 
than a revolution of the suu. 

When painters represent tlie thunder, it is like so many joined 
drums, heaped together. They also paint a man having tlie sem- 
blance of an athlete and call liim " the Tliuuderer " [Lei Kung). 
Witli his left hand they give him joined drums to pull, in his 
right hand he brandishes a hammer, as though he were going to 
strike. It means that the rolling sound of thunder is produced by 
the knocking together of tlie united drums, and that the sudden 
crashing noise is the blow of the liainuier. When a man is killed, 
lie is struck with the drums and the hammer at tlie same time. 

People also believe in this, and nobody objects. But if we 
get at the bottom of it, we find that these pictures are pure fic- 
tions. Thunder is either a sound or a fluid. How caa a sound 
or a fluid brandish a hammer, or pull drums, and have the shape 
of joined drums? If the thunder can really swing- or pull these 
tilings, it must be a creature. That which, wlien knocked together, 
produces souud.s, can be either a drum or a bell. Should the roll- 
ing sound be produced by drums or bells ? Iii that case, bells and 
drums could not hang free in the air, they would require a frame 
with vertical and cross-beams. Suspended between, they could be 
sounded. Now, the bells and drums have nothing to hang upon, 
and the feet of the Thunderer nothing' to walk upon, how then 
should the thunder be produced ? 

Somebody might object that for this very reason there must 
be a spirit, foi-, if in order to produce thunder a frame were re- 
quired, or a support for tlie feet, it would be quite human, and 
by no means spirit-like. 

I hold that spirits are diffuse and incorporeal. Departing or 
coming in they need no aperture, nor have they any hold above or 
below. J liercfore one calls them spirits. Now the Thunderer lias 
a body, and lor the thunder there are instruments, how can lie be 

This seems to be an old adage. 

On Thunder and Lightning. 


deemed a spirit? If the Tliunderer were incorporeal, his semblance 
could not be drawn, and, if he possesses a body, lie does not 
deserve the name of a spirit. 

People talk of tlie dragon spirit rising to heaven. But who- 
ever thoroughly examines the question, discredits this idea. Men 
sometimes see the shape of a dragon, and rm'ing to this circum- 
stance they paint the shape of a dragon rising to heaven. The 
best proof that, as a fact, there is no spirit is, that it can be 
pictorially represented. 

My opponents will argue : " Men also see apparitions of ghosts. 
Are they not spirits? " I say: "If men see gliosts sometimes, has 
anybody already seen tlie Thunderer? Ghosts are called spirits, 
but they walk about on earth like men. The Thunderer, however, 
does not rest his head in heaven, nor walk on earth with his feet. 
How can he, therefore, be a thunclerer? " 

All flying creatures have wings. Those who can fly without 
wings are styled genii. In representing the forms of genii men 
give them wiugs. Provided the Thunderer is like the genii, he 
ouglit to have wing's equally. If, in case the Thunderer does not 
fly, the painters pretend that he can fly, tbey are wrong, and if 
he really could fly, but had no wings, it would be wrong likewise. 
Thus the pictures of the Thunderer's outward appearance, made 
by painters, are merely fancy work. 

Those who argue about thunder aver that it is Heaven's 
angry snorting, whereas those who sketch it, contend that the 
Thunderer in his anger pulls the joined drums. If it is really as 
the critics say, the painters are wrong, and if they are right, the 
critics must be in error. The two classes are antagonistic. If both 
their views were taken as genuine, there would he no difference 
of right and wrong, and in default of that, no real right and wrong. 
Doubts would not be settled, and fallacies would triumph. 

The Liki speaks of a goblet with the thunder carved upon 
it.i One thunder rushes forth, the other reverts, one is coiled up, 
tlie other stretched forth. Their friction would give a sound. They 
look as if they were colliding, piled up in a grotesque and phan- 
tastic way. This form represents the tliunder. When through 
friction the air breaks, there is a rolling- sound, the soimd of friction. 

1 Neither the Liki nor the < 'liou-U contains such a passage, as far as I could 
make out. On the old sacrificial bronze vases, called tsiin = goblets, clouds 
and thunders i. e. coiled up clouds were represented. The thunder ornament is the 
Chinese Meander. Specimens of these goblets can be seen in the Po-ku-t'u-lu chap. 7. 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

A sudden crash is the sound of the shooting forth of the air. 
When this shooting air hits a man, he dies. 

In fact thunder is nothing else than the exploding solar fluid. 
How do we know ? 一 In the first montli the Yang fluid begins to 
be roused, consequently we have the first thunder during the first 
moon. In the fifth month Yang is at its cynosure, therefore at 
tliat time thunder rapidly follows upon thunder. In autumn and 
winter Yang declines, therefore thunder ceases during these sea- 
sons. In the midst of summer the sun reigns supreme, but t.lie 
Yin fluid endeavours to get the upperhand. In this dispute of the 
Yang and the Yin fluids it comes to frictions, and these frictions 
lead to explosions and shooting, which are destructive. A man 
struck by these forces is killed, a tree split, and a house clemolislied. 
A person under a tree or in a house may also by cliance be hit 
and killed. 

To test the justness of this statement take a basin full of 
water, and throw it ou a fire, used for melting purposes. The 
vapour will explode with a puff like the sound of thunder. Should 
any one be too near, his body will be burned. Heaven and earth 
are like a great furnace, the Yang fluid is an immense fire, clouds 
and rain are huge masses of water. When they struggle, explode 
and slioot, the effects must be most violent, and a man bit and 
injured cannot but die. * 

When founders melt iron, they make a mould of earth, into 
which the liquid iron runs down. Else it bursts out, flows over, 
and spurts. Hitting a man's body, it burns his skin. The fiery 
Yang fluid is not only as hot as liquid iron, the exploding Yin 
fluid has not merely the wetness of earth and clay, mid when 
the Yang fluid hits a man, it does not simply cause the pain of 

Thunder is fire. A man burned by tliis fluid must show traces 
of it. If those traces of burning look like written characters, people 
seeing them use to say that Heaven lias written (lie man's guilt 
to make it known to the whole world. This is also unreasonable. 

If Heaven destroys men with its thunder, after tliey have 
perpetrated their misdeeds, he ought to make their wickedness quitv 
public, witli a view to IViglitening for the ("uture, and write the charac- 
ters dearly, but not quite indistinctly, as it does. When the "Plan" 
came out ol" the Yellow River, ^ and the " Scroll " emerged from 

1 The " Plan '• appeared to the Emperor Huany 7V in the Yellow River. 
A big fish carried it on its back. Huany Ti received the Plan, which consisted of 
a combinatioii of symbolical lines and diagrams like the Fa-kua. 

On Thunder and Lightning. 


the 1/0, 1 Heaven and Earth produced them for men to read and 
take note of. The writing on people killed by thunder is also 
Heaven's work. Why is it so difficult to understand? 

Let us assume that the human skin is not fit to be written 
upon. The wife of Duke Hui of Lu,'^ Cliung Tse was daughter to 
Duke Wu of Sung.^ When she was born, she had a writing on 
her palm to the effect that she was to be duchess of Lu. The 
writing was distinct and intelligible. Therefore CJiung Tse 、、- as 
married to Lu. The thunder's handwriting not being clear, it cannot 
serve as a deterrent for the future. Ergo the burnt spots are not 
characters engraved by Heaven. 

Sometimes people exaggerate things tliat really exist, some- 
times tliey invent things that have no real basis at all. Imposed 
upon by fallacies, they indulge in fabricating wonders and miracles 
as the following- arguments will prove : ― 

1. Thunder is fire. When a man dies struck by thunder, one 
discovers upon examining liis body, if the head be hit, that the 
hair is singed, and if tlie body be struck, that the gliin is charred. 
Coming near tlie body, one scents tlie smell of burning. 2. Taoist 
experimentalists hold that a stone heated by a tliunder-clap, becomes 
red. If it be thrown into a well, the stone being burning hot, the 
well cool, an explosion ensues witli a loud detonation like thunder. 
3. AVheu somebody takes cold, the cold fluid enters liis stomach. 
The stomach being as a rule warm within, the warmth and the 
cold struggle together, and the exploding air gives a thunder-like 
sound. 4. In a thunder-storm brilliant lightnings appear every now 
and then like the glares of big fires. 5. When the lightning strikes, 
it often burns man's houses and buildings, or grass and trees. 

Those wlio declare thunder to be fire have these five argu- 
ments, tliose who preiitend that tliuuder is Heaven's anger, not a 
single one. Therefore this latter assertion is witliout any foundation. 

However, it might be objected that there is a passage in the 
Analects to the e fleet that, wlien thunder followed thunder, and the 
storm raged, Confucius used to be deeply impressed.* The Liki says, 

1 The " Scroll ', was carried by a dragon-horse, which rose from the waters 
of the Lo, a tributary of the Yellow River, at Fn Hvi's time. From the mystic signs 
on this " Scroll " the emperor is reported to have derived the Eight Diagrams and 
the first system of written characters, whicli took the place of the knotted cords, 
quipos, then in use. 

2 767-721 B.C. 

3 764-746 B.C. 

* Quoted from Analects X, 16. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

" when a strong wind blows, and the thunder-claps quiclily follow 
each other, and rain falls in torrents, a superior man will be deeply 
moved. Though it be night, lie will rise, don liis clothes and cap, 
and sit up " i in awe of Heaven's anger, fearing lest its punishment 
should reach him. If thunder were not tlie expression of Heaven's 
anger, nor its striking a punishment of the guilty, why should a 
good man be frightened by thunder, put on his official robe, and 
sit straight? 

The Master 2 means that the relation of Heaven to man is 
similar to that of father and son. The father being moved, the 
son cannot remain indifferent. Therefore, when Heaven is moved, 
man must be likewise. Being in harmony with Heaven, he proves 
that he does not act in opposition to it. 

Man suddenly hearing a dog bark outside the house, will be 
startled, and with trembling limbs liarken to find out, what it means. 
How much more so, when he hears Heaven assuming an extraordinary 
voice like the noise made by the quick rolling of heavy carts ! 

The remark in the Analects and the observation of the Liki 
both refer to the wise man. The wise man displays the utmost 
care in all his doings and knows that he has no guilt, just like 
sun and moon, which, when eclipsed, have not clandestinely given 
impure food to men. Examining his heart, he feels no fear, where- 
fore should he be afraid of thunder? If lie is not afraid, his ex- 
citement can be no proof of Heaven's anger, because he fears nothing 
for himself. Should he really be afraid of thunder, even that would 
not suffice to prove the punisliment of hidden crimes, for people 
struck by lightning are mostly quite innocent. The wise man ap- 
prehends that lie might be hit by chance. Therefore lie is anxious 
and alarmed. But this alarm of the wise man cannot be put for- 
ward to demonstrate that thunder is Heaven's anger. It shows, 
on the contrary, that thunder strikes at random. Because it hits 
at random, and does not punish the guilty, people are afraid. If 
thunder actually punished the guilty, the wicked ought to stand 
in awe, and the wise had no cause for apprehensions. 

The king of Sung asked T' ang Yang saying " I have killed a 
great number of people, yet all the officials are still quite fearless. 
What is the reason ? " 

T'ang Yang replied: ― " Those that Your Highness has punished 
were exclusively bad characters. If the bad are called to account, 

Quoted from the Liki Book VI Yu-tmo {Lcgge, Sacred Books Vol. XXVIII, p. 5). 
Confuciun in the passage quoted from the Analects. 

On Thunder and Lightning. 


why should the good bo frightened? If Your Highness wishes all 
tlie officials to be in awe, the best way is to make no distinction 
between good and bad, and chastise them all occasionally. Then 
all the officialdom will be afraid." ' 

The 】dng followed his advice, and all the functionaries became 
frightened, whereupon the king of Sung turned very angry. Owing 
to the indiscriminate punishments of the king of Sung, the whole 
people of Sung got greatly alarmed. Because thunder and lightning 
strike indiscriminately, a wise man becomes agitated. His alarm is 
like the great fright of the kingdom of Sung. 

1 Quoted from Hsiin Tse. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

On Poison (Yen-tu). 

Sometimes the following question is considered : ― Between 
lieaven and earth there are the ten thousand beings witli their 
characteristic nature. In the animal kingdom we find adders and 
vipers, bees and scorpions, which are poisonous. When tlieir bite 
or sting has hurt a human body, the sickness which tliey cause 
must be most carefully treated, for without timely help, the virus 
spreads through the whole body. In the vegetable kingdom we 
have croton oil beans and wild dolichos, which, wlien eaten, cause 
a stomacli-ache, and in large closes kill a man. What manner of 
fluid have these created beings received from lieaven ? The ten 
thousand beings, when created, are endowed with the original fluid. 
Is tliere any poison in tlie original fluid? 

Poison is the hot air of the sun; when it touches a man, 
he becomes empoisoned. If we eat something Avhicli causes us 
such a pain in tlie stoiiiacli, that we cannot endure it, that which 
proves so unendurable is called poison. The fiery air of the sun 
regularly produces poison. This air is hot. The people living in 
the land of tlie sun are impetuous. The mouths and tongues of 
these impetuous people become venomous. Thus the inhabitants 
of C/iu and Yueh ^ are impetuous and passionate. When tliey talk 
with others, and a drop of their saliva happens to fly against their 
interlocutors, tlie arteries of the latter begin to swell and ulcerate. 

Tho Southern Circuit" is a very hot region, Wlien tlie people 
til ere curse a tree, it withers, and, when tliey spit upon a bird, 
it drops down. Wizards are all al)le to make people ill by their 
prayers as well as to avert tlieir misfortunes. They liail from 
Kirtng-nnn,.^ and ai'c imbued with the hot fluid. Poison is the fluid 
of the sun, therelbre it burns like lire, when somebody is aspersod 
by it. When people bitten by a, viper cut out the flesh, as sorae- 

' ILikuang and ('hckiang. 
- Iliipei. 

3 The country soutli of the Yangtse, now the provinces Kiangsu, Kiangsi, 
and Anhui. 

On Poison. 


times they do, and put it on the ground, it burns and bubbles up, 
wliicli shows that there is a hot lluid in it. At the four cardinal 
points, are border-lands, but the south-eastern corner alone has 
broiling hot air, which always comes lortli in Spring and Summer. 
Ill Spring and Summer the sun rises in the south-eastern corner, 
which is the proper spliere of the sun. 

When the air of other things enters into our nose or eyes, 
they do not feel pain, but as soon as fire or smoke enter into 
our nose, it aches, and, when they enter into our eyes, they pain 
us. This is the burning of the hot air. Many substances can be 
dissolved, but it is only by burning fire tliat tliey are scorched. 

Eating sweets is not injurious to man, but, when for instance 
he takes a little too much lioney, he Las symptoms of poisoning. 
Honey is a secretion of tlie bee, and the bee is an insect belonging 
to the Yang fluid. 

If a man without having hurt himself against anything in his 
movements feels a sudden pain in his body, for which there is no 
apparent reason, and if those parts of his body wliich pain him 
show marks of flogging so to speak, he suffers from lumbago. 
This lumbago, they say, is caused by devils wlio are beating the 
person. Devils are supernatural apparitions produced by the sun. 
If the disease be less acute, one calls it sciatica, and uses honey 
and cinnabar to cure it. Honey and cinnabar are substances be- 
longing to the Yang fluid. This cure is liomeopatliic. As an anti- 
dote against a cold one uses cold, and against fever one uses heat. 
Since to cure sciatica tliey take honey and cinnabar, it shows us 
That sciatica is the effect of tlie Yang fluid and of the diffusion of 
a poison. 

Poisonous air is floating between heaven and earth. When a 
man comes into touch with it, his face begins to swell, a disease 
wliich people call a sun-stroke. 

Men who have seen ghosts, state that they have a red colour. 
The supernatural force of the sun must, of course, have this colour. 
Gliosts are burning poison ; the man whom they assault, must die. 
Thus did Earl Tu shoot King Hsiian of Chou clead.i The para- 
phernalia of these demons of death are like the fire of tlie sun. 
The bow as well as the arrow of Tu Po were both red. In the 
south they term poison " small fox." The apparition of Earl Tu 
had a bow in his hand, witli 、vhich he sliot.. The solar fluid was 
kindled simultaneously, and, when it was thus intensified, it shot. 

Cf. p. 202. 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

Therefore, when he hit the king, he seemed provided with bow 
and arrow. 

When lieat is pent up, and the temperature increased, the 
poison in the blood is stirred up. Tlierefore eating the liver of a 
race horse will cause a man's deatli, tlie fluid pent up in tlie liver 
having been chafed. During the dog-days, when a scorching heat 
prevails, people die by insolation; the extreme heat has been turned 
into poison. We perspire, while running, near a stove, in the sun- 
shine at noon, and, when we are feverish. The four causes have 
been different, but they all engender perspiration. The heat is the 
same, and it has been equally pent up. 

Fire is a phenomenon of the sun. All created beings of the 
world are filled with tlie solar fluid and after their creation contain 
some poison. Reptiles and insects possessing this poison in abund- 
ance become vipers and adders, bees and scorpions, plants become 
croton seeds and wild dolichos, fishes become porpoises and " to- 
shu " ' fish. Consequently men eating a porpoise liver die, and the 
bite of a " to-shu " is venomous. Fishes and birds are related, 
therefore birds can fly, and fishes too; birds lay eggs, and fishes 
also. Vipers, adders, bees, and scorpions are all oviparous and have 
a similar nature. 

Among mankind bad characters take the place of these creatures. 
Their mouths do mischief. The bad men of the world are imbued 
with a poisonous iluid. The poison of the wicked living in the land 
of the sun is still more virulent, hence the curses and the swearing 
of the people of southern Yileh produce such wonderful results. 

A proverb says, " Many mouths melt metal." The moutli is 
fire. Fire is the second of the five elements, and speech the second 
of the five actions; There is an exact correspondence between 
speecli and fire, therefore in speaking- of the melting of metal one 
says that tlie nioutli and the tongue melt it. They do not speak 
of pulling out wood and burning it, but expressly refer to the 
melting of metal. Metal is overcome by fire, fire and mouth belong 
to the same class. 

Medicinal lierbs do not grow in one place only. T ai Po left 
his country and went to Wu.* The melting of metal does not take 

1 Knng-hi quotes this passage, but does not say what kind of a fish the 
*' to-shu " '辱多 |§ 叙 is. It may be a variety of the .s/'«., which seems to be a kind 
of sturgeon. 

2 Cf. Shuking {Hung-fan) Pt. V, Bk. IV, 5-6. 

3 Another instance of Chinese symbolism, wliich they mistake for science. 

4 Cf. p. 120. 

On Poison. 


place in one foundry alone. People speak very much of T ang-chi 
in CKn.^ The warm air on earth has its regions. One dreads to go 
into the southern sea, for tlie secretary falcon lives iu the south, and he 
who drinks anything that has been in contact with it, must die.^ 

Shin appertains to the dragon and sse to the snake. Shin 
and sse^ are placed in tlie south-east. The dragon is poisonous, 
and the snake venomous, therefore vipers are provided with sharp 
teeth, and dragons with an indented crust Wood engenders fire, 
and fire becomes poison. Hence the " Green Dragon " holds the 
" Fire Star " in its mouth. ^ 

Wild cloliclios and croton seed both contain poison, therefore 
the dolichos grows in the south-east, and croton in tlie south-west. 
The frequence of poisonous things depends on the dryness and the 
humidity of the soil, and the strength of the poison is influenced 
by the locality, where they have grown. Snakes are like fish, 
therefore they grow in the grass and in marshes. Bees and scorpions 
resemble birds and are born in houses and on trees. In Kiang-pei^ 
the land is dry; consequently bees and scorpions abound there. Iu 
Kiang-nan the soil is wet, hence it is a breeding place for great 
numbers of snakes. 

Those creatures growing in high and dry places are like the 
male principle. The virile member hangs down, therefore bees and 
scorpions sting with their tails. The creatures living in low and 
wet places resemble the female principle. The female organ is soft 
and extensible, therefore snakes bite with their mouths.'^ Poison 
is either concealed in the head or the tail, whence tlie bite or the 
sting becomes venomous, or under the epidermis so that the eating 
causes stomach-ache, or it lies hidden in the lips and the throat, 
so that the movement of the tongue does mischief. 

1 A place in Honan celebrated for its foundries. Vid, p. 377. 

2 Chen 求 = secretary falcon has become a synonym for poison. 

3 The fifth and the sixth of the Twelve Branches (Duodenary Cycle of symbols). 

4 The " Green Dragon " is the quadrant or the division of the 28 solar mansions 
occupying the east of the sky. The " Fire Star " is the Planet Mars. Mars in the 
quadrant of the " Green Dragon " forebodes war i. e, poison ; nothing but inane 
symbolism. (Cf. Shi-chi chap. 27, p. 6 v.) 

5 The country north of the Yangtse^ now the northern parts of the provinces 
Kiangsu and Anhui, 

6 Which hang down likewise. 

7 Which are soft and extensible. ― To such ineptitudes even the most elevated 
Chinese minds are led by their craze of symbolisation. 

8 The mischief done by the tongue in speaking, which is not only compared 
to, but identified with poison. 


Lun -Heng: C. Physical. 

The various poisons are all grown from the same fluid, and 
however different their manifestations, internally they are the same. 
Hence, when a man dreams of fire, it is explained as altercation, 
and, when he sees snakes in his dreams, they also mean contention. 
Fire is an emblem of the mouth and tlie tongue: tliey appear in 
suakes likewise, wliicli belong to the same class, have sprung from 
tlie same root, and are imbued witli tlie same fluid. Tims fire is 
equivalent to speed, and speech to bad men. When bad men say 
strange things, it is at tlie instigation of their months and their 
tongues, and the utterances of mouth and tongue are provoked by 
the influence heaven has exercised upon the persons in question. 
Consequently the second of the five actions is called speech. "Tlie 
objectionable manifestation of speech is presemptuous error, sym- 
bolized by constant sunshine." ' Presumptious error is extravagant 
and shining. In the same manner snakes are gaudily ornamented. 
All ornaments originate from the Yang, which produces tliein, as it 
were. Sunshine is followed by talk, which accounts for the weird 
songs so often heard. 2 

The magical force engenders beauty, but tlie beautiful are 
very often vicious aucl depraved. Tlie mother of S/m Hu^ was a 
beauty. Shu Hsiang's'^ mother knew lier, and would not allow her 
to go to the chamber of her husband. Shu Hsiang remonstrated. 
" In the depths of mountains and in vast marshes dragons and 
snakes really grow," said his mother. " She is beautiful, but 1 
am afraid, lest she give birth to a dragon or a snake, wliicli would 
bring mishap upon you.^ You are of a poor family. In tlie States 
great favours are sometimes given, but what can the recipient of 
such favours do, when he is being slandered by malicious people. 
How should I be jealous of her?" 

She then allowed her to go to lier husband's couch, and she 
begot a son, njimed Shu llu. Owing to 】iis beauty and hero-like 
strength Shu llu became a favourite of Lnmn lluai Tsef however, 

1 Shuking {Ihmg-fan) Pt. V, Bk. IV, 34. 

2 Cf. p. 246 and above p. 300. 

3 A half-brother of Shu Hsiang. I lis mother was a concubine of Shu 
Hsiang's father. 

4 All officer of Chin. 

& Being ail exceptional woman by her beauty, she would give birth to nii 
extraordinary son - a dragon, and it would be dangerous for an ordinary man like 
Iier son Shu Hsiang to be a blood relation of such an extraordinary person, since 
fate likes to strike tlie exalted. 

r' Quoted from tlic Tso-chuan, Duke Hmung, 21st year (551 B.C.). 

On Poison. 


when Fan Hsilnn Tse expelled Luan Huai Tse,、 lie killed Shu ,/?/., 
and so brought misfortune upon Shu Ilsiang. 

The recesses of mountains and vast marshes are the places 
where dragons and snakes breed. Shu IIus motlier was compared 
to them, for under her cliai-ins the poison lay hidden. She bore 
a son, Shu IIu, whose beauty consisted in his hero-like strength. 
This strength grew from his beauty, and the disaster came from 
his strength. 

Fire has splendour, and wood has a pleasant appearance. Drag- 
ons and snakes correspond to the east. Wood contains the essence 
of fire, hence its beautiful colour and graceful appearance. The 
gall being joined to the liver, courage and strengtli are produced. 
The force of tlie fire is violent, hence the groat courage ; wood is 
hard and strong, hence the great strength. When there is any 
supernatural apparition produced, it is through beauty that it brings 
about misfortune, and tlirougli courage and strength that it injures 
like poison. All is owing to beauty. 

Generous wine is a poison ; one cannot drink much of it. The 
secretion of the bees becomes honey; one cannot eat much of it. 
A hero conquers an entire State, but it is better to keep aloof from 
him. Pretty women delight the eyes, but it is dangerous to keep 
them. Sophists are most interesting, but tliey can by no means 
be trusted. Nice tastes spoil the stomach, and pretty looks beguile 
the heart. Heroes cause disasters, and controversialists do great 
harm. These four classes are the poison of society, but the most 
virulent poison of all is that flowing from the mouths of the sophists. 

When Confucius caught sight of Yang Hu,'^ he retreated, and 
his perspiration trickled down, for Yang Hu was a glib-tongued man. 
The poison from a glib tougue makes a man sick. When a man 
has been poisoned, he dies alone, whereas a glib tongue ruins a 
whole State. Tims we read in the Shiking:^ ― " Endless are the 
slanderous reports. They threw four States* into confusion," Four 
States were thrown into confusion, how much more would be a 
single individual. Therefore a man does not fear a tiger, but dreads 
the calumniator's mouth, for his mouth contains the worst poison. 

1 Two noblemen of Chin, cf. p. 206. 

2 A powerful, but unworthy officer in Lu. 

3 Shiking Pt. 11, Bk. VII, 5. 

4 Modem commentators explain the expression jJCj |^ as meaning " llie four 
quarters of the empire." 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

On Anthroposcopy {Ku-hsiany). 

It is a common belief that fate is difficult to foresee. Far 
from it, it can easily be known, and by what means ? By means 
of the body and its bones. As man derives his destiny from heaven, 
it becomes visible in his body. An inquiry into these manifestations 
leads to the knowledge of fate, just as from a look at measures 
one learns their capacity. By manifestations I understand the osseous 

According to tradition Huang Ti had a dragon face, Chuan Hsu 
was marked with the character Wu^ on liis brow, Ti Ku had a 
double tooth, Yao's eye-brows had eight colours, S/mii's eyes double 
pupils, Yt'is ^ ears three orifices, T'ang had double elbows, Wen Wang 
four nipples, Wu Wang's ^ spine was curbed backwards, Chou Rung * 
was inclined to stoop forward, Km Yao'-' had a horse's mouth, 
Confucius' arms were turned backwards.^ These Twelve Sages either 
held the positions of emperors and kings, or they aided their 
sovereigns, being anxious for the welfare of the people. All the 
world knows this, and the scholars speak oi" it. 

These reports being given in the Classics and Annals can be 
relied upon. The light literature, such as journals, letters, and 
memoirs which the Literati do not read, afford a great many more 
instances: sang Hsieh had lour eyes and became one of Huang 
Ti's officials. Cliung Erh, prince of Chin.i had a double rib, and 
became the foremost of all the feudal lords. Su CK in& with a bone 

2 Huang T't, Chuan IhU, Ti I、u, Yao^ Shun, and Yu are mythical or half 
legendary rulers of old China. 

3 T'ang^ Wen Wang^ and Wu Wany are the founders of the Shang and Chou 

4 T<w, Duke of (、! lou, a younger brother of Wu Wa"y, whom he helped to 
win the throne. 

5 A minister of Shun, • 

6 Like the wings of a bird. 

7 (liumj Erh reigned as marquis of Chin from 634-626 b.c, 

8 A famous statesman who in 3i{3 b.c. succeeded in forming a league of the 
Six States : I'm, (Jhuo, Hart, Wei^ (Jhi, and Chu against CUin, 

On Anthroposcopy. 


on his nose obtained tlie premiership in all the Six Kingdoms. 
Chang Yi ^ having a double rib was also made a minister in 67< in 
and Wei. Hsiang Fii, who owing to his double pupils was regarded 
as a descendant of the Emperor Shun, shared the empire with 
Kao Tsu. Cli en P'ing^'^ a poor fellow who had not enough to eat 
and drink, had nevertheless a very fine appearance, which sur- 
prised every one so much, that they exclaimed : what on earth does 
CKen P'ing eat to become such a portly man. Han llsin ^ was 
rescued from the axe of the executioner, when he caught the eye 
of the duke of eng, and was pardoned also on account of liis 
extraordinary appearance. Fine looks and stateliness can be cha- 
racteristics as well, 

Kao Tsu had a high nose, a dragon face, a fine beard and 
72 black spots on his left leg.^ Lii from Shan-fu ^ was skilled in 
prognosticating from looks. When he saw Kao Tsu' s carriage, he 
tliouglit him very remarkable, and therefore gave him his own 
daughter, the later empress Lil Hou, to wife. Afterwards she gave 
birth to Prince Hsiao Hid ^ and to the princess Yuan of Lu. Kao 
Tsu was first a headborougli on the river Sse} Then he gave 
up his post, and took to farming, again living with Lu Hou and 
liis two children on liis farm, when an old man passed by, and 
asked for a drink. In return lie divined Lil Hou's fate by her 
features saying: " Madam, you belong to the great folks of the 
empire," Called upon to foretell the fortune of lier two children, 
he said in regard of Hsiao Hui : " The cause of your greatness, 
Madam, will be this son," and with respect to Yuan of Lu: "You 
are all uoble." When the old man had left, Kao Tsu came home 
from abroad. Upon being informed hj' Lil Uou of what had taken 
place, lie ran after the old man, and stopped him, wishing to hear 
his own fortune too. The old fellow rejoined: " Before, the lady 
and her children bore a resemblance to you in tlieir looks, but 

1 A celebrated politician of the 4th century b.c, in early life a fellow-student 
of Su Ch'in. 

2 A partisan of the founder of the Han dynasty, Kao Tsu, one of the Three 
Heroes, who in early youth lived in great poverty and subsequently rose to the 
highest honours. 

3 Another adherent of Han Kao Tsu, also one of the Three Heroes, the 
third being Chang Liang. He was to be executed for treason, but was pardoned. 

* As anomalous features. 

5 This passage occurs in the Shi-chi chap. 8, p. 2, which treats of Han Kao T"i. 

6 A place in Shantung. 

7 He succeeded his father Kao Tsu in 194 b.c. 
b A river in Shantung. 

Lun - Heng. 20 


Lon - Heng : C. Physical. 

your mien is so grand, that words fail me to describe it." i After- 
wards the empire devolved upon Kao Tsu, as the old man had 

If we draw a general principle from this, we find that members 
of the same family all show their nobility in their appearance. 
Belonging to the same caste and animated by a similar spirit, they 
must necessarily have some kindred traits in their mental and 
physical qualities. It however happens that two persons of different 
classes and iucougruous minds meet together. A grandee, when 
marrying, gets a great lady for his wife, and a gentlewoman also 
finds a uoble lord. If two individuals meet despite discrepancies 
of appearance, a sudden death ensues. In case they have not yet 
come into contact, one party is overtaken by death previously. 

Wang Mang's auut Lady Cheng was bespoken in marriage. 
When the moment came for her to go, the bridegroom suddenly 
died. The same thing happened a second time. Tlien she was 
given away to the Prince of Chao, but the Prince had not yet 
taken lier, when lie breathed his last. Nan Kung Ta Yu of Cli ing-Jio - 
met with Lady Cheng s father, the Honourable CIdh, with whom he 
was acquainted, and prognosticated her fate saying : " She is so 
exalted, that she wili become the mother of tlie empire." At that 
time Hsiian Ti^ was emperor and Yuan Ti heir-apparent. Through 
the governor of the principality of Wei, Chih then gave lier in mar- 
riage to the heir- apparent, who was very pleased with her, and 
became father to a sou of the name of Chiin Sliang. At the death 
of Hsiian Ti the heir-apparent ascended the throne, Lady Cheng was 
made empress, and Chiin Shang heir-apparent. When Yuan Ti^ died, 
the lieir-apparent assumed the reins of government and became the em- 
peror Cheng Ti,^ and Lady Cheng became empress-dowager and thus 
mother of the empire. Lady Cheng bad sometliiug in her features 
indicative of lier future imperial motherhood. The two men to 
whom she was betrothed first, and the Prince of Chao had no marks 
showing that they would be fathers of the empire, therefore the 
two died, before the marriage could take place, and the prince 
expired. The two Jiances and tlie Prince of Chao were not pre- 
destinated for imperial sway, and Lady Cheng was apparently no 
match for them. 

1 Cf. Shi-chi loc. (it. which slightly differs. 

2 A city in Shantung ; Flayfair No. 1642. 

3 73-48 B.C. 
* 48-32 B.C. 
5 32-6 B.C. 

On Anthroposcopy. 


The prime minister Huang T'se Kung,i who was originally a 
border warden in Yang-hsia,^ travelled with a soothsayer in the same 
carriage, when they perceived a woman seventeen or eighteen years 
old. The fortune-teller pointed to her and said: -― " This woman 
will be raised to liigli honours, and become consort to a marquis." 
Huang T'se Kung stopped the carriage, and looked at her carefully. 
The fortune-teller said : ― "If this woman will not become noble, 
my divination books are of no use." Huang T'se Kung inquired about 
her, and learned tliat she was from tlie next village, a female 
belonging to the Wn family. Thereupon he married her, and after- 
wards really gained liigli lionours, was given the post of a prime 
minister, and created a marquis.^ Since Huang T'se Kung won wealth 
aud honour, his wife liad to be on a par with him. Consequently, 
when they were brought together, they both became illustrious. 
Had Huang T'se Kung's fate been meau, he would not have got that 
woman as a consort, and had tliey not tallied together as man and 
wife, tliey would have had the same raisfortuue as the two persons 
above mentioned and the Prince of Chao. If an entire family has 
a glorious destiny, then later on every thing turns to their honour 
and advantage, whereas in case of incongruity of osseous structure 
and physical shape they will be separated and die, and cannot 
enjoy great happiness long. 

In noble families even servants and slaves as well as cattle 
and liorses wliich tliey rear are not like the common ones. From the 
looks of the slaves one sees that they do not easily die. The cattle 
and liorses often produce young. The seeds in the fields grow up 
luxuriantly, and quickly put forth ripe grains. In commerce those 
sort of people manage to get excellent mercliandise, which sells 
without delay. Those who know fate, find out the great folks 
amidst low people, aud discern the miserable among the magnates. 
Judging from tlie osseous structure and distinguisliing the lines on 
the skin, they discover man's fate, whicli always confirms their 

Viscount Chien of Chao bade Ku Pu Tse CKing tell the for- 
tunes of his sons. He found none of them lucky, until he came 
to the son of the slave-girl Chai, Wii Hsu, whom he declared to be 
a peer. Wti Hsu had an excellent character, and was stamped a 

1 Huang T'se Kung was prime minister of the emperor Hsiian Ti, died 51 b.c. 

2 In Honan. 

3 A parallel passage occurs in the Han-sku, quoted in the T ai-pHng yu-km 
729 p. 4. 

4 516-457 B.C. 



Lull - Heng : C. Physical. 

nobleman to boot. Later on Viscount CJden put the heir-apparent 
aside, and raised Wu Hsil, who afterwards became Viscount Ihiang. ' 

A soothsayer said of Cliing Pu^ that lie would be tortured, but 
then become prince, and he really was made a prince after having 
suffered punishment.^ 

The father of Wei C/iing,*^ Cheng Chi had illicit intercourse with 
a maid of the princess Yang ITsin, Wei. Wei Cliing was born in the 
Chien-chang Palace. A convict read his destiny in his features and 
said " He is noble, and will be invested with the rank of a marquis."' 
Wei Cliing replied : 一 "For a slave it is quite enough not to be 
whipped or reviled. How could lie dream of a marquisate ? After- 
wards Wei CJiing entered the army as an officer. Having dis- 
tinguished Iiiinself in several battles, he rose in rank, and was pro- 
moted, till lie was made generalissimo with the title of marquis of 
ten thousand families. 

Before Chou Ya Fu^ became a marquis, llsil Fu predicted his 
fortune saying : 一 " Within three years hence Your Honour will be 
a general aud minister, and have the control of the empire. You 
will rank so high, that among your fellow officials there will not 
be your equal. But nine years later, you will die of starvation." ― 
Chou Ya Fu replied laughing, " My elder brother already inherits the 
title of marquis. When the father dies, the son succeeds to his 
title. Why do you hint at my becoming marquis ? But should I 
really attain to this dignity, as you say, liow can you pretend that 
I shall die of starvation? Explain this to me." Hsii Fu pointed to 
the perpendicular lines converging at tlie corner of his mouth, aud 
said, " This means death by starvation." ― Three years passed. His 
brother, marquis Slieng of Chiang ^ was punished for an offence. Win 
Tis was in favour of the marquis of Chiang's son. The wise coun- 
cillors proposed Chou Ya Fu, wlio thereupon was created marquis of 

1 457-425 B.C. Cf. p. 226 and Shi-chi chap. 43, p. 8 seq. 

2 A military adventurer of the 2nd century b.c. His surname was originally 
Ying Pa. It was changed into the sobriquet CKing Pa " Branded Pu ", after he had 
been branded in Iiis early life. He made his escape, joined in the rebellions which 
led to the rise of the Ilun dynasty, and was rewarded with the title and the fief of 
a "Prince of Kiu/cianr/," Mayers Reader's Manual No. 926. 

3 Quotation from Shi-chi chap. 91, p. 1. 
* Cf. p. 1G9. 

-' Quoted from the Shi-chi chap. Ill, p. 1 v. 

c Cf. (; iles Biogr. Diet. No. 426, where the end of Chou Ya Fu is told a little 

7 The capital of the Chin State in Shansi, the modern Chiang-chou. 

8 Ilan Wen Ti 179-156 b.c. 

On Anthroposcopy. 


T iao ^ and succeeded the marquis of Chiang. During' the six later 
years of Wen Tis reign the Hsiung-nu invaded the Chinese territory, 
and Chou Ya Fu became general. When Cking TP assumed the govern- 
ment, Chou Ya Fu Avas appointed prime minister. Later on he retired 
on account of sickness. His son bought from the imperial arsenal 
five hundred mail-coats, which he wanted lor his father's funeral. 
The coolies employed at the job were irritated against him for not 
having received their money. Knowing that fiscal property liacl 
been clandestinely purchased, out of spite tliey denounced Chou Ya 
Fit s son to the throne. Cking Ti gave orders for trying- and tor- 
turing Chou Ya Fu, wlio did not eat for five days, spat blood, 
and clied.^ 

Teng T ung took the fancy of Wen Ti, who held liiin in higher 
esteem than a minister, presented liim with enormous sums of money, 
and treated him almost as his equal, A fortune-teller predicted 
his destiny. The verdict was that he would become poor and 
miserable and die of starvation. When Wm Ti died, and Ching Ti 
had mounted the throne, Teng T ung was punished for unlawful 
coinage. On examination Ching Ti found Teng T、mg already dead. 
He stopped at the deceased man's house, but did not discover a 
single casli.5 

The prime minister Han ^ when a youngster borrowed 50 cash 
from a fortune-teller, and together with him entered the Imperial 
Academy. The fortune-teller divined the successes of the scholars 
in the academy. Pointing at / Kuan "* he intimated that this youth 
would rise so high as to become a chief minister of state. Han sent 
the fortune-teller with his card to I Kuan, with whom he contracted 
the most intimate friendship. He exerted himself to the utmost in 
order to show his reverence. For tlie purpose of living together 
with I Kiian he moved his residence, and drew as near as possible. 
I Kuan was sick, Han nursed liira like a servant. His kindness 
towards / Kuan was greater than towards those of his own blood. 
Later on his name became famous all over the world. I Kuan ob- 
tained the post of a secretary of state. The local officials had to 
obey his orders. He recommended his friend to the throne for an 

1 Another ancient city in Shansi not far from Chiang. 

2 Han Ching Ti 156^140. 

3 Quotation in a abridged form from Shi-chi chap. 57, p. 6 v. seq. 

4 Teng IT ung was a minion of the Emperor Wen Ti, 

5 Cf. Teng Thing's biography in Shi-chi chap. 125, p. 2. 
^ Han An Kmo, 2nd cent. b.c. 

- Died 112 b.c. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

appointment at the court. Han subsequently was promoted to the 
post of a prime minister. 

The convict, Hsii Fu and the men who told the fortunes of 
Teng T'ung and I Kuan can be considered as soothsayers who knew 
fate. These sort of people examine tlie symptoms of the physical 
frame, and perceive wealth and honour, poverty and disgrace, just 
as we on seeing plates, know the use thereof. Fine vessels are 
used by the higher classes, coarse ones with the same certainty 
find their way to the poor. Sacrificial vases and tripods are not 
put up in outer buildings, and gourds are not to be found in the 
principal hall. That is a matter of course. That noble bones do 
not meet with the hardships of the poor, and that wretched 
features never share the joys of tlie grand, is on the same 

Vessels used as measures may contain a peck or a piciil. 
Thus between the human ranks there is a difference of liigli and 
low. If vessels are filled over their size, their contents runs out, 
and is lost. If the limit of a rank is surpassed, the holder perishes. 
By making in our discussion of fate this comparison with a vessel, 
in order to ascertain the nature of anthroposcopy, we arrive at the 
conclusion that fate is lodged in the corporeal form. 

But not only are wealth and honour, poverty and wretched- 
ness visible in tlie body, pure and base conduct have also their 
phenomena. Pre-eminence and misery are the results of iate, pure 
and base conduct depend on character. As there is a method 
determining fate by the bones, there is also such a science doing 
the same for the character. But, whereas there are famous sooth- 
sayers, it is not known that n science determining the character 
by the features exists. 

Fan Li • left Yiieh. From Oii'^ he despatched a letter to the 
high officer Chung reading as follows: ― " When the flying birds are 
all exterminated, the good bow is put away. When the cunning 
hare is dead, one cooks tlie greyhound. The king of Yileh has a 
long neck and a mouth like a beak. Ofie may share hardships, 
but not enjoy happiness with liim. Why do you jiot leave him? " 
The officer Chung could not leave, but he pretended sickness, and 
did not go to court, whereupon tlie king sent him a sword, by 
which he died, 

1 A native of the Yiieh State, and minister of King Kou Chien of Yiieh, in 
modern (Jhekianff, 5th cent. b.c. 

2 An old State in Shantung. 

3 Quoted from the Shi-chi chap. 41, p. 6 v. The last clause is abridged. 

On Ajithroposcopy. 


Wei Liao, ' a native of Ta-lmng,"^ proposed to Ch'in Shih Huang 
TP a scheme to conquer the empire. Ch'in Shih Huang Ti accepted 
his proposal and conferred upon him the highest distinctions, giving 
him the same dresses and the same food as he had himself. Wei 
Liao said, " The king' of Ch'in* has a liij>;li nose, long eyes, the 
chest of a vulture, the voice of a jackal, the look of a tiger, and 
the heart of a wolf. He knows no kindness. As long as he is 
hard up, lie is condescending, but, when he has got what lie wanted, 
he despises men. I am a simple citizen, yet he always treats me 
witli great condescension. Should I really serve the king of Ch' in, 
lie would gain his ends, and the whole world would be robbed. 
I can liave no dealings with him." Thus he went away.'^ 

Fan Li and Wei Liao correctly determined future events l)y 
observing the outward signs of character. Things really happened, 
as tliey had foretold from the features. It is evident, therefore, 
that character and destiny are attached to the body. 

The instances quoted in the popular literature are universally 
regarded as true. Besides there are a great many cases in olden 
and modern times not much heard of, which are all well founded. 
The spirit comes from heaven, the body grows on earth. By 
studying the body on earth one becomes cognizant of the fate in 
heaven, and gets the real truth. 

Confucius is reported to have examined T an 7, ai Tse Yii,^ and 
T^ang Chn, to have divined for T^sai Tse,^ and that both of them 
were mistaken. Where did their error come from? The signs were 
hidden and too delicate. The examination may have for its object 
the interior or the exterior, the body or the voice. Looking at 
the outside, one perhaps misses the inside, and occupied with the 
body, one forgets the voice. 

Wlien Confucius came to Cheng, ^ he lost his disciples. He stood 
by himself near the east gate of Cheng. Some man of Cheng asked 
Tse Kung 10 saying: 一 " There is a man near the east gate with a 

1 Wei Liao wrote a work on the art of war. 

2 An ancient name of K^ai-feng-fu. 

3 The first emperor of the Ch'in dynasty 221-209 b.c. 

4 Shih Huang Ti's kingdom in Shensi. 

5 Quoted in an abridged form from the Shi-chi chap. 6, p. 6 seq. 

r' A disciple of Confucius, extremely ugly, but very talented. Cf. Analects VI, 12. 
, A famous physiognomist 3rd cent. b.c. 

8 A native of 】— (^«, who first studied physiognomy with T ang Chii and later 

on was appointed minister by King Ch'ao Hsiang of Ch'in (305-249 B.C.). 
" In Honan. 

1" A disciple of Confucius. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

head like that of Yao, a neck like that of Kao Yao^ and shoulders 
resembling those of Tse CKan.^ But from liis waist downward he 
is by three inches shorter than YiL He is worn out like a stray 
dog." Tse Kung informed Confucius. Confucius laughed heartily and 
said, "My appearance, never mind, but like a stray dog! just so, 

just so." 2 

In the matter of Confucius appearance the man of Cheng was 
wrong. He was not clever, and his method was very superficial. 
Confucius made a mistake with Tse Yfi, and T ang Chil was in the 
wrong with T sai Tse, as the man of Cheng iu looking at Confuchis 
did not apprehend his real appearance. Judging from his mien 
Confucius was deceived with Tse Yil^ and going by words he was 
in error in regard of Tsai Yil.'^ 

1 The appellation of Kung Sun Ch^iao, a famous minister of the Cheng State 
in the 6th cent. b.c. 

2 A quotation from Shi-chi chap. 47. p. 12 v. Cf. Legge, Analects, Prolegom- 
ena p. 78. 

3 One of the disciples of Confucius, whose character was not quite on a level 
with his fluency of speech, wherefore the Master said of him, " In choosing a man 
for his gift of speech, I have failed as regards Tsai YiiJ" 

Long Life and Vital Fluid, 


Long- Life and Vital Fluid {Chi-shou). 

The fate which every one receives is of two kinds, one deter- 
mines those events wliicli lie must encounter, the other is the fate 
of strength and weakness, of long or short life. The events to be 
encountered are war, fire, crushing, and drowning, etc. ; strength and 
long life, weakness and short life are connected with the copious- 
ness and scarcity of tlie received fluid. War and fire, crushing and 
drowning can supervene, therefore there is not necessarily a period 
of invariable length for what lias been received as fate.' 

If tlie limit of strength and long life be a hundred years, 
then the fluid of those who do not reach a hundred years must 
be insufficient. 

When tlie fluid is copious, the body becomes strong, and the 
body being strong, life lasts long. On the other hand, when the 
vital force is scanty, the body is weak, and with a weak body life 
is short. A short life is accompanied by mucli sickness. If the span 
be short, people die soon after they are born, and are annihilated, 
before they are fully developed. That is because their vital fluid 
is too little and too weak. 

Those imbued with a copious and a strong fluid do not all 
at once end their lives. If people do not meet with any accidents, 
and, leading a quiet life, become exhausted and worn out, until 
they die for want of vitality, it is owing to the insufficiency of 
their vital fluid, which they have completely used up. Their fate 
is similar to that of those 、vlio expire soon after their birth and 
are cut off, before they have grown up. In all these cases the de- 
ficiency of the fluid is the reason, why those persons do not live 
a hundred years. 

The fluid which fills men is either full and abundant ― then 
they are strong and vigorous, or scanty and poor ― then they are 
weak and feeble. Imbued witli a full quantity, they are strong, 

1 What has been received as fate is the vital fluid or life. The length of 
life depends on the quality of this fluid, but it can be shortened by accidents, such 
as war, fire, etc. coming from abroad, before vitality is exhausted, and death would 
ensue under normal conditions. ― The Chinese word used here, -qp means " fate " 
as well as " life. ' 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

and live long, filled with a small dose, they are weak, and lose 
their bodies. 

When Heaven and Earth produce things, sometimes these tilings 
do not grow to their full growth, and when father and mother en- 
gender a child, sometimes its full development is checked. It happens 
that a plant bears a fruit, but that this fruit withers, dies, and 
drops, and it also happens that people have a son who is killed 
in his youth. Had this fruit not withered, it would also have com- 
pleted one year, and had the son not been killed, lie would like- 
wise have lived a hundred years. The decay of the fruit and tlie 
death of the son are brought about by the weakness of their vital 
force. Although their forms be complete, their feeble fluid does 
not suffice to fill them. 

When the cries of a new-born infant are shrill and piercing, 
it will live long, when they are whining and pitiful, it will die 
young. Why? Because, when the new-borns receive tlieir fate of 
longevity or short life, the greater or smaller quantity of their fluid 
forms their nature!' 

Wlien a mother nurses her cliild at longer intervals, it will 
be fit for life, whereas, when she nourishes it very frequently, it 
will die. Why? Because the nursing at intervals shows that the 
fluid is copious, and the child is strong. The frequent suckling 
proves the insufficiency of" the vital fluid and the weakness of 
the baby. 

A fondling is a son anterior to whom another son has already 
been brought up and died. Tliey say that such a fondling cannot 
live, and call it a fondling. The idea is tliat, another son having 
already died, the mother is too anxious about the new one, and 
spoils his nature. The former son is dead, and tlie fondling is 
doomed, because he is nursed much too often. His fluid being 
too feeble, lie cannot thrive. Though he may grow up, he is too 
easily affected by external influences. He will always be the first 
to catch a disease, and his alone will prove incurable. 

A fate of a liundred years is the proper one. Those who 
cannot complete a hundred years, though tliey have no proper late, 
still have a fate. In the same manner the proper height of the 
human body is ten f(、('t.2 Therefore a man is a Hod cliang-fu,^ and 

1 And this nature becomes manifest by Uie way in which tlic new-borns cry. 
Strong babies have strong voices, weak ones give only a whine. 

2 On tlie Chinese foot see p. 320 Note 1. 

3 Wanp Chung explains the term vhan(j'fn -^1^ " young man " as origin- 
ally meaning a man of ten feet = chang. 

Long Life and Vital Fluid. 


chang-jen is an honorary designation for an old gentleman and an 
old lady.' A man not measuring ten feet lias not the proper height, 
but nevertheless lie possesses a body. A body cannot be declared 
to be no body because of its falling short of ten feet. And so fate 
cannot be said to be no fate on account of its not coming up to 
a hundred years. 

Heaven does not distribute long and short fates, of which 
every one would obtain either. We may say that man receives his 
fate in his fluid from Heaven, wliicli is tlie same, whether he fin- 
ishes it sooner or later. There is a saying to the effect that, if 
somebody aspires to royalty and does not succeed, this pretender 
can remain a leading prince. Leading princes are unsuccessful pre- 
tenders to royalty. A pretender should rise to royalty, as a long life 
ought to come up to a hundred years. Unable to become a king, 
lie retires and continues a leading prince, and thus he who cannot 
attain to a hundred years resigns himself to a premature death. 

A king and a pretender do tlie same, but are given different 
names, the one an honourable, the other a contemptible one. A 
long and a short life are caused, as it were, by the same fluid, but 
tliey are of different duration, either long or short. How do we 
know that lie who does not live a hundred years, and dies an 
untimely death, possesses a fate of a hundred years all the same? 
Because his bodily frame is as big and as tall as that of others. 
A body that lias lived a liundred years does not differ from another 
of fifty years. The bodies not being different, the vital fluids cannot 
differ either. Birds and animals have other bodies than man, hence 
tlie length of their lives must differ from the human. 

How can we prove that human life, if it be long, lasts a 
hundred years ? There are sucli cases in the world, and the Literati 
say that during the time of universal peace people used to be very 
tall, and live about a hundred years, which was tlie effect of the 
harmonious fluid. In the Canon of Yao, Yao says, " I have been 
seventy years on the throne." 2 He wished to abdicate, and found 
Shun. Shun was tried and had occupied the throne thirty years, ^ 
when Yao retired owing to his old age. Eight years afterwards lie 
expired. Ninety-eight years had elapsed until his decease.* But he 

1 A husband thus addresses his father and mother-in-law. 

2 Quotation from the Shuking Pt. I, chap. HI, 12 {Legge Vol. Ill, Pt. I, p. 25). 

3 The Shi-chi chap. 】, p. 20 [Chavannes, Mem. Hist. Vol. 1, p. 69) writes 
twenty years. 

4 In that case Shun cannot have reigned for him longer than 20 years, for 
70 + 20 + 8 二 98. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

must already have lived, before he ascended the throne. Counting 
all these numbers together we arrive at an aggregate sum of over 
a hundred years. 

It is further stated that " Shun was thirty years old, that he 
was tried thirty years, and that lie was on tlie throne fifty years, 
when lie went on high and died," i which makes just one hundred 
years. ^ 

Wen Wang said to TFw Wang, " I am a hundred years, and 
you are ninety. I will give you three years of mine." Weng Wang 
was ninety-seven years old, when he died, and Wu Wang ninety- 
three, when he departed,^ 

The Duke of Chou was a younger brother of Wu Wang. Between 
brothers there is generally no greater difference than ten years. 
After the death of Wu Wang, Chou Kung became regent. Seven years 
later he returned the government, and retired owing to old age. 
That would make about a hundred years. The Duke of Shao was 
an elder brother of the Duke of Chou. At the time of King K^ang^ 
he was still Senior Tutor, which would make more than a hundred 

Sages are endued with the harmonious fluid, therefore the 
years of their destiny have the proper number. The harmonious 
fluid is conducive to a tranquil government. Therefore during the 
age of universal peace the number of tall and long-lived persons 
was particularly great. One hundred years is the proper number 
of years of a long human life, as autumn is the proper time for 
the fate of plants, since plants live until autumn, when they die. 

Plants perishing before or after autumn are similar to men 
whose life either exceeds or falls short of a hundred years. The 
time before or after autumn corresponds to more or less than a 
hundred years. Some plants fade already after they have pierced 
the earth, as men may die soon after their birth. Other plants may 
pass the autumn witliout withering just like men whose years may 
eventually be from one hundred to three hundred. 

1 Quotation from the Shuking (Shun-tim) Pt. II, Bk. I, chap. VI, 28 {Legge 
Vol. m, Pt. I, p. 51). 

2 Tlie computation gives 110 not 100 years. We should read "lie was tried 
twenty years " instead of thirty, the reading adopted in the Shi-chi and defended by 
several old commentators. Cf. Legge x notes to the passage and Chavanues loc. cit. 
p. 91 Note '1. 

3 Quoted from the Liki, Wrn Wang .ihih-iic [Lcgyr, Sacred Books Vol. XXVII, 
p. 344). Tlic commentators are at a loss, how to explain that Wm 'Wang was only ten 
years older than his son, Wu Wang, and how he could give him some of his years. 

* 1078-1053 B.C. 

Long Life and Vital Fluid. 


It is on record that Lao Tse lived over two hundred years. ^ 
The Duke of Shao became one hundred and eighty years old. Kao 
Tmng - reigned one hundred years, and King Mu of the Chou dyn- 
asty likewise one hundred.^ Including the time before his ascension, 
there must have been upwards of one hundred and thirty-four years 

1 Sse Ma CKien mentions this report in his biography of Lao Tse {Shi-chi\ 
chap. 63, p. 3). Some said that Lao Tse became over 160 years old, others that he 
lived over 200 years, prolonging his life by the practice of virtue. 

2 The Shukinff Pt. V, Bk. XV, 5 、L,e Vol. Ill, Pt. II, p. 467) expressly 
states that Kao Tsung = Wu Ting enjoyed the throne for fifty and nine years, not 
for a hundred. He reigned from 1324-1266 b.c. 

3 Thus the Shuking (Lu-hsing) Pt, V, Bk. XXVII, 1 {Legge Vol. III, Pt. II, 
p. 588) as Wang CKnng and others understand the passage (On Lrgge's different view 
cf. his notes). According to the Ski-chi King Mils reign lasted but 55 years. It is 
usually reckoned from 1001-947 b.c. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

Miracles (Chi-kuai). 

The Literati pretend that Sages are not born from human 
sperm, but that tliey are endowed with a special essence from 
Heaven. The mother of Yii swallowed pearl-barley,^ and gave birth 
to Yii,^ whence the Hsia dynasty has its surname Sse.^ Hsieh's mother 
consumed a swallow's egg, and was delivered of Usieh,* whence 
the Yin dynasty derived its surname Tse.^ The mother of IIou Chi 
walked in the foot-steps of a giant," and bore Hou Chi,, whence 
the Chou received their surname ChiJ The Sinking says, " There 
was no rending and no tearing, thus Hou Chi. was born." 9 

They further state that Yii and Hsieh were born unnaturally, 
issuing from their mother's back, and that Hou Chi was born na- 
turally. There was no rending and no tearing, the mother's body 
did not suffer, hence the expression : ― no rending and no tearing. 
The descendants of those, boru unnaturally die an unnatural death, 
while the descendants of those born naturally die naturally. There- 
fore Chieh and Chou^^ were executed, and Nan Wang ' ' was deprived 
of his cities. These words seem to be self-consistent, therefore 

1 薏 

2 This legend is mentioned in the Wu liiek Ch'un-chHu, the Chronicle of Wu 
and Yuek, by Chao Yeh of the 1st cent. a d. 

4 Cf. Chap. XXXVII. The Sinking Pt. IV, Bk. Ill, Ode 3 only says that 
Heaven commissioned the swallow to descend and give birth to ILsieh {Leg go Vol. IV, 
Pt. n, p. 636). 

5 -jp* , which also may signify an egg. 

。 跡. . 

7 Chiang Ymzn, the mother of Hou Chi " trod on the toe-print made by God ,, 

says the Shiking, Pt. UI, Bk. II, Ode 1 {Ler/ffe Vol. IV, Pt. 11, p. 415). 

8 玄泣. ) ", 仏' e/', and IIou Chi are tlic ancestors of the Three Dynasties: — 
Hsia, } in, and Chou, The Shuo-wen observes that because the mothers T)f these 
Sages were moved by Heaven, Son of Heaven became a term for a Holy Emperor. 

" Shikiny Pt. Ill, Bk. II, Ode I, 2. 

1" The last emperors of the Usia and the Yin dynasties. 

" The last reigning emperor of the house of ( 'hou (314-256 b.c), who in 
256 had to surrender 36 cities to the King of CKin and in the same year died as 
a prisoner oi* (Jh'in. 



people believe them, and since, in addition, evidence is given to 
establish their truth, they rely on these utterances. 

The Chan-shu i also relates of the mother of Yao, Ching Tu, 
that she conceived from a red dragon, when slie went out into 
the country, and gave birth to Yao. From the chronicle of Kao 
Tsu^ we learn that dame Liu was reposing on the banks of a large 
lake. In her dream she met Avith a spirit. At that time there was 
a tempest with tliimder and lightning and a great darkness. T'ai 
Kung^ went near, and perceived a dragon above her. She became 
enceinte and was delivered of Kao Tm. These instances of the super- 
natural action of spirits are not only narrated, but also written 
down, and all the savants of the day swear by them. A thorough 
investigation, however, will show their futility. 

The statement of the Shiking tliat there was no rending and 
no tearing viz. that the mother's body was not much affected may 
be true, but the assertion that Yii and Hsieh issued from their 
mother's back is irrational. When cicadas are born, tliey break 
forth from the back of the larvse. Did Heaven in generating those 
sages follow the law of the larvse? 

Hares conceive by licking the pubescence of plants. When 
the leveret is born, it issues from the mouth of tlie hare. Since 
the mother of Yii swallowing the barley and that of Hsieh, who 
consumed tlie swallow's egg, were like liares licking the pubescence, 
their sons ought likewise to have issued from their mouths, and 
not from their backs. Consequently the statement about the back 
is preposterous. 

In the world many persons die a sanguinary death by the 
sword, and it is not necessary that their first ancestor should have 
had an unnatural birth. When the Ch'in lost the empire, Yen Yiieh^ 
beheaded Hu Hai,^ and Hsiang Yii^ executed Tse YingJ Was the 
forefather of the Ch' in, Po Yi born unnaturally ? Ergo the thesis 
of natural and unnatural births based on the ancestors of the Three 
Dynasties is erroneous. 

1 A book of prophecies wrongly ascribed to Confucius. 

2 Shi-chi chap. 8, p. 2. 

3 The father of Kao Tm. 

4 The son-in-law of the powerful eunuch Chao Kao, who contrived the death 
of the emperor. Cf. Chavannes, Mem. Hist.Yol. 11, p. 213 seq. 

5 The Emperor Erh Shih Huang Ti, son of Ch'in Shih Huang Ti, 209-206 b.c. 

6 Cf. p. 178. 

7 A child which occupied the throne 65 days only. 
** The forester of the Emperor Shun. 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

Moreover, pearl-barley is a plant, a swallow's egg a bird, and 
a giant's foot-prints are earth. These three things are bodies, but 
not a fluid, how could they procreate a man? With regard to 
Sages people suppose that tliey receive the essence of Heaven, which 
is an exceptionally fine fluid, wherefore their doings are so different 
from those of the masses. Now the progenitors of tlie Three Dy- 
nasties are born from a plant, a bird, and earth. Could these be 
regarded as very fine essences? 

Since among the productions of Heaven and Earth man is 
the noblest, the others are common. Now, if the essence of those 
common things should be the sperm for the noblest creature, man, 
how could it be very fine? 

Let us suppose that a pigeon or a sparrow emitted their fluid 
into a wild goose or a wild swan, it would never produce an egg. 
Why? Because a pigeon and a sparrow are too small, compared 
with a wild goose and a wild swan. Now, the body of a swallow 
measures but five inches, and the stalk of pearl-barley not more 
than several feet. How could the two women who swallowed 
the egg and the grain have begot a creature of seven feet? ' 

Supposing that one melts the copper required for a tripod 
and pours it into the mould of a cash, it is plain that one could 
not produce a tripod. Now the giant is the Spirit of Heaven, there- 
fore his foot-prints were so big. 2 The man with the huge foot-prints 
is like the molten copper for a tripod, and Chiang Yuan s^ body like the 
mould of a cash. Should the giant emit his fluid into Chiang Yuan, 
her body would be much too small to receive the whole essence, and 
without this whole essence Hou Chi could not have been born. 

If Yao and Km Tsu were really the sons of dragons, their 
nature as sons ought to have been similar to that of their dragon 
fathers. Dragons can ride on the clouds, and Yao and Kao Tsu 
should have done the same. 

All plants growing from earth resemble their own species, but 
not earth, for they are not produced by earth, wliicli merely nour- 
ishes and feeds them. A mother with child is like the earth feeding- 
plants. The mothers of Yao and Kao Tsu received the emissions of 
the dragons, as earth receives the seeds of plants. Since growing 
plants arc similar to their own species, the two emperors also 
should have been like dragons. 

' Mail measures seven feet according to the measurement of the Chou epoch, 
when 1 foot was like 20 cm., and 7 feet = 1,40 in. 

2 The Shikiny loc. cit. explicitly states that the foot-prints were made by God. 

3 The name of Hou Chi's mother. 



Of animals with blood males and females pair. When they 
come together and see one of their own kind, their lust is excited, 
they wish to satisfy it, and then are able to emit their fluid. 
Should a stallion see a cow, or a male sparrow a lien, they would 
not couple, because they belong to different species. Now, dragons 
and man are of a different species likewise. How then could a 
dragon be moved by a human being so as to impart its fluid ? 

Some say i that, when tlie Hsia dynasty was near its down- 
fall, two dragons fouglit together in the court, and spat their saliva 
oil the ground. When tlie dragons had disappeared, their saliva 
was preserved in a casket, until King 1m of the dynasty 
opened it. Then the saliva of the snakes clianged into a black 
lizard, wliicli slipped into the seraglio, where it had intercourse 
with a palace girl. The result was the birth of Pao Sse.^ 

A black lizard belongs to another class than man, how could 
it become enamoured witli a palace girl, and emit its fluid? The 
intercourse with the black lizard was vicious, therefore Pao Sse 
caused disasters, and overthrew tlie C/iou dynasty. When different 
species recklessly mix together, their offspring becomes unprincipled 
and mischievous. Now, the mothers of Yao and Kao Tsu had illicit 
intercourse,* why did the two emperors become wise and sage men, 
and were quite different from Pao Sse? 

They say that Viscount Chien of Chao was sick and for five 
days did not know anybody. When he awoke, he said, " I have 
been to God's abode. There appeared a brown bear. God bade 
me shoot it; 1 liit the animal, and it died. Then came a spotted 
bear ; I hit it also, and it died. After the two bears had died, I 
asked a ghost on the road. Tlie ghost said: 一 " The brown and 
the spotted bears are the forefathers of two ministers of Chin." ^ 

Bears are animals, and as such of a different class from man. 
How should tliey become of the same class and the ancestors of 
the two ministers? The time, when the ancestors of tlie two min- 
isters, the brown and the spotted bears, killed by Viscount Chien. 
were doomed to die, was one of luck for the Viscount Chien. He 
saw them as in a dream. They were empty semblances and must 

1 For details cf. Shi- c hi chap. 4, p. 25 {Chavannes, Mem. Hist. Vol. I, p. 281) 
which quotes a passage fi'om the Kuo-yii, and Liin-heng Bk. V, p. 1 v. (I-hsii). 

2 781-771 B.C. 

3 The famous favourite of King 】'《., who ruined the empire by her extra- 

4 With two dragons. 

■' See p. '225, where this stoi'y is told in detail. 
Lun - Heiig. 21 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

not have been real. Should tliey really have existed, then perhaps 
the two bears were first metamorphosed into human beings, before 
they engendered the two ministers. 

Niu Ai, Duke of Lu, was changed into a tiger during a sick- 
ness.^ Man can be transformed into an animal, as animals can be- 
come men. Probably tlie black lizard, 、v】iich entered the liarem, 
was also first changed into a man. 

Between heaven and eartli it does not happen that creatures 
of a difi'erent species mix and couple. Should Heaven have the 
same law as man, their likes and dislikes would also be similar. 
Man does not like different species, therefore Heaven would not 
consort with such either, Altliougli man is created by Heaven, 
he is like tlie lice which are produced on man. Man does not love 
those lice, for what reason then should Heaven desire to beget 
through man? Different classes have different natures, and their 
sentiments and desires do not agree. Heaven and Eartli are hus- 
band and wife. Heaven emits its fluid into Eartli and produces 
the various things. Man is born by propagation. If Sages are 
formed of a very fine essence, yet they receive tlie fluid from their 
fathers, and are not endowed with a special essence from Heaven . 

Should tlie recipients of a special essence become Sages, Hsieh 
and Hou Chi are not Sages, and, if it be necessary tliat all Sages 
should Lave received a special fluid, tlie Twelve Sages - did not all 
meet this requirement. What fluid did the mothers of Huang Ti, 
Ti JCu, Cliuan Hsii aiul S/nm receive, and what did the mothers of 
Wen Wa?ig, Wn Wang, (J hou Kung, and Confucius swallow to become 

Perhaps the surnames of the Three Dynasties : ― Ssc, Tse, and 
Chi gave the impetus to the invention of those unfounded and 
marvellous stories, as tlie legend of Huang Tis ascension to heaven 
originated from the local name of Ting-hu, Not only are they 
irrational, but those names are also misinterpreted. When T sang 
Hsieh * invented writing, lie made tlie signs agree with the ideas. 
Chiang Yuan walked into the foot-prints of a giant. " Foot-priut " 
{chi = 亦) means a " basis " {eld = 甚), therefore the surname 
should be " his " {clii = 其) witli " eai't】i ,, (if" = 土) below, but 
it is " woman " [iiu = 女) with " chin " (i 二 at its side. This 

1 Cf. p. 326. 

2 Cf. p. 304. 

3 For tills legend vid. p. 332. 

4 A minister of Iluung Ti, cf. p. 244. 



is not the character clii 二 基 or eld = nor in accordance with 
the circumstances, 1 whence their truth becomes very doubtful. 

Judging by the surname Chi of the CI ion of those of tlie llsiu 
and Yi.'t, we arrive at the conclusion that Tse and Sse have nothing 
to do witli a swallow's egg or pearl-barley. May be that the 
mothers of Yil^ Hsieh, and IIou Chi were just going to conceive, 
wlien tliey happened to swallow a grain of pearl-barley and a 
swallow's egg, or walked upon the foot-priuts of a giaut. The 
world is fond of the marvellous, a propensity which has been the 
same in ancient and modern times. Unless they see wonders, people 
do not believe that a person possesses extraordinary faculties. Thus 
they explain surnames according to their preconceived ideas. The 
world puts implicit faith iu these explanations, and they are there- 
fore regarded as true. Sages liave repeatedly uttered their doubts, 
but t hey could not solve them, and the shallow discussions of the 
scholars of the day cannot discriminate between right and wrong. 

Tlie literati, who approve of all that is old, liave put forward 
those arguments. The Sh iking says that there was no rending and 
no tearing, wliicli means to say that by Hon Chi's birth the body 
of his mother was not much affected. From this the literati, per- 
verting the right principles, have derived the story of the unnatural 
birth of Yii and Hsieh. The fecundation by the dragon and the 
dream of the meeting with the spirit are of the same nature. Tlie 
mothers of Yao and Kao Tsii were just about to become enceinte, 
when they met with a thunder-storm and a dragon carrying' clouds 
and rain along. People seeing these phenomena then told the stories. 

A dream that one meets witli a dragon is an auguiy of the 
birth of a wise son. Is a dream of a meeting with ghosts not like 
a dream of a rendez-vous with a spirit? How could it be real ? 
When the mother had intercourse witli the dragon in the wilds, 
and when the dragon appeared on high, Yao and Kao Tsu perchance 
received their destiny of wealth and honour, for a dragon is an 
auspicious animal, and to meet it appearing above is a lucky omen 
and a sign that fate lias been received. 

When the Emperor Kuang Wu Ti saw the light in the Chi- 
yany palace, a phoenix alighted on the grouud, and an auspicious 
grain grew in one room.- Wlien Sages are born, and strange birds 
and auspicious things appear as portents, strange and auspicious 

■ 1 The surname Chi =. does not point to the foot-prints which Chiang 

J nan is believed to liave walked upon. 
, - Cf. p. IbO. 



Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

things become visible indeed. If, however, we are to regard the 
children born then as the offspring of those things, should we 
consider the Emperor Kuang Wu Ti as the essence of the auspicious 
blade or the fluid of the phoenix? 

According to the chapters on the pedigree of the Emperors i 
and the Genealogical Tables of the Tlii'ee Dynasties'^ Yii was the 
son of Kun, and Hsieh and Hou Chi were both sons of tlie Emperor 
K' u, tlieir mothers being second wives of K\i. Yao also was a son 
of the Emperor iCv. Why then must the wives of kings and 
emperors walk into the country ? Altliougli the ancient times are 
noted for their simplicity, yet there were already certain rules of 
propriety established. And why did these ladies bathe in the 
rivers? 3 It follows that the assertion about tlie Sages receiving a 
special fluid from Heaven and their mothers becoming pregnant by 
swallowing something is a fallacy. 

As a matter of fact Sages have their prototypes among tlieir 
ancestors ; being as virtuous as Wen Wang and Wu Wang, they still 
find tlieir peers. Confucius, playing the flute, knew that lie was a 
descendant of the Yin,^ and Thiang Yit, having double pupils, was 
cognisant of his being a scion of Shun, The Five Emperors and 
Three Rulers liad all Huang Ti as their ancestor. He was a Sage, 
who first received a grand destiny. Therefore all his descendants 
became emperors and rulers. At their births there were miracles 
of course, which, if they did not appear in things, became mani- 
fest in dreams. 

1 Chap. 2-4 of the Shi-chi. 

2 Chap. 13 of the Shi-chi. 

. 3 As the mother of Hsieh did, wlieii she swallowed the egg, cf. chap. XXXVII. 

4 We 'learn from Lnm-lieng Bk. XXIV, p. 3 that it was against the custom 
to make music on the anniversaries of the downfall of the Hda and Yin dynasties, 
as one did not write on the death day of T'sang Hsieh, the inventor of writing. 
I infer from tliis that the last emperors of the I-hia and Yin dynasties were famous 
for tlieir music, and that Confucius feeling in liiniself a talent for music imagined 
that lie was a descendant of the Yin emperors. 

5 Shun had double pupils as well, vid. p. 304. - 

Unfounded Assertions. 


Unfounded Assertions {Wu hsing). 

Men receive the vital fluid from heaven at their birth, and 
are all given a fate fixing the length of their lives, in accordance 
to wliicli their bodies exist for a longer or slior-ter period. Just 
so vases are formed out of clay by the potter, and plates from 
copper by the founder. As the shape of a vessel, once completed, 
cannot be made smaller or bigger, thus the duration of tlie corporeal 
frame having been settled, cannot be shortened or prolonged. The 
said fluid forms tlie constitution, which determines fate and shapes 
tlie body. The fluid and the material body pervade each other. 
Life and death correspond to fixed periods. The body cannot be 
transformed, and likewise late cannot be lengthened or shortened. 
We may elucidate tlie question as to the duration ot" human life by 
observing the potter and founder. 

Some one might object saying, " True, if a potter uses his 
stuff to make a vase, this vase, after its completion, lasts, until it 
breaks, but cannot be formed anew. If, however, a founder casts 
a plate out of copper, although it be finished, it can be melted 
again, and be made into a cup or, if that is not possible, into a 
vessel. Although men, who owe their spirits to heaven, all have 
a destiny fixing- their span, by which their bodies are regulated, 
they cau, if they know the right way and an effective elixir, change 
their bodies and prolong tlieir lives all tlie same." 

I reply, "If a founder recasts a finished vessel, he must first 
liquefy it in lire, before lie is able to enlarge or diminish, extend 
or shorten if. If a man desiring to protract his years, should 
wish to be like the copper vessel, there must be some sort of a 
liirnace with coal, where the change and tlie transmutation of his 
body could take place. The body having been changed, the life- 
time might also be extended. How could men, in order to change 
tlieir bodies, undergo a smelting- process like a copper vessel? " 

The Li Ki states. " When the water pours down, one does 
not offer lisli or turtles for food.'" Why? Because, when the 

1 Li Ki chap. 1, No. 1 (Chii-H), p. 20 v. (Legge's translation Vol. I, p. 84.) 
Various rciusous have been assigned by tlie coiumeiitators for this rule. They say, 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

rain water rushes down, snakes and reptiles are changed and become 
fish or turtles. Since they give up their original real nature and 
are transformed only for a while, the servants take care and dare 
not offer tliem to their masters for food. Would men desirous of 
having their bodies transmuted, be satisfied witli a change like that 
of reptiles and snakes ? Those reptiles which are liable to a change 
are worse off than those which do not change at all. Before they 
change, they are not eaten by men, hut, when they have been 
transformed into fish and turtles, men eat them. Being eaten, 
their long lives are cut short, and that is not what people desire. 

Years and months change, and the intrinsic fluid may trans- 
form one species into another. Frogs become quails, and sparrows 
turn into clams. Man longing for bodily transformation would like 
to resemble quails and crabs. These are in the same plight as 
fish and turtles. Man fishes for crabs and eats them, when lie 
catches them. Although without a metamorphose of the body, life 
cannot be lengthened, this result i cannot be aimed at. 

Duke Niu Ai of L/u was laid up with a malady for seven days, 
when he was transformed into a tiger, Kun ^ when banished to 
Mount Yu-shan turned into a moose. Do those who seek trans- 
formation desire to become a tiger like Niu Ai, or a moose like 
Kun? The life of a tiger or a moose is not longer than the human. 
In this world the human nature is the noblest of all, therefore the 
transmutation of a man into a bird or a beast cannot be desirable. 
It would be a great boon, if an old man could be transformed into 
a youth, or if at least tlie white liair could turn black again, the 
lost teeth grow once more, and the animal forces be strengthened, 
so tliat the person could jump about, devoid of all decrepitude. 
This would be grand indeed ! Where would be the advantage of 
a transformation, if life were not prolonged thereby? 

If a thing is transformed, its concomitant fluid, as it were, fa- 
vours the change. Human work may produce new forms, it is not 
Heaven which transforms tilings in order to prolong tlieir duration. 
No more can a transformation be brought about by eating divine 
herbs or wonderful drugs. A man constantly using cordials can 

in opposition to Wang Ch'ung, that during heavy rain-falls fish are so easily got as 
not to be valuable, or that then they are muddy and not fit for eating. This last 
reason seems the most plausible. 

1 To become like a quail or a crab. 

2 Quoted from Huai JSan Tse, who adds that the tiger devoured his brother, 
when he opened the door. 

3 A legendary minister of Yao and father to Great 】'ii. 

Unfounded Assertions. 


thereby merely strengthen 】iis constitution and add to his years. 
A sudden transmutation is not caused by the real heavenly fluid 
or the true nature, with wliicli men are endowed. Heaven and 
earth do not change, sun and moon are not transformed, and the. 
stars do not disappear. Such is their real nature. As man has 
received part of their real fluid, liis body cannot be transformed 
either: men do not sometimes become women, or women men. A 
high mound may be turned into a valley, or a deep ravine into a 
hill. But then the cliange keeps pace with hmnaii labour, it is a 
change by labour, not by inherent nature. 

At the rise of tlie Han dynasty, an old man presented Chang 
Lif-wgX with a book, and tlien was transformed into a stone. There- 
fore the essence of a stone was a propitious omen for the rising 
Haii. Similarly tlie essence of the River 2 became a man who gave 
a jade-badge to the envoy of Cliin, wliicli was an unlucky augury, 
indicating the downfall of CJi in.^ 

The silkworm feeds on mulberry leaves, when it grows old, 
it sets to spinning, and becomes a cocoon, and the cocoon again 
is changed into a moth. The raotli lias two wings, and in its 
altered form widely differs from the silkworm. Grubs change into 
clirysalisses, and these turn into crickets. The crickets are born 
with two wings, and are not of the same type as grabs. A great 
many of all worms and insects alter their shapes and transform 
their bodies. Man alone is uot metamorphosed, being the recipient 
of tlie real heavenly fluid. Born as a child, he grows into a man, 
and, wlieu he is old, into greybeard. From birtli to death 
there is no metamorpliose, for sucli is his original nature. Creatures 
wliicli by their nature are not transformed, cannot be induced to 
do so, whereas those which must pass through a metamorphose, 
cannot forego it. Now, the length of life of those transformed 
creatures does not compare favourably witli that of non-transformed 
ones. No tiling would be said, if a man desirous of a metamorpliose 
could thereby prolong liis years, but if he only changes liis body 
without increasing his years, he would be merely on a level with 
crickets. Why should he like this? 

Dragons are reptiles which appear sometimes, and then again 
become invisible, and which sometimes are long and sometimes short. 
It is in their nature to undergo transformations, but not for good, 

1 An adherent of the founder of the Han dynasty. The Taoists have claimed 
him as one of their patriarchs and mystics. See p. 235. 

2 The Yellow River. 

3 Tins event is told in detail on p. 233. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

since after a short while, they relapse into their previous state. 
Ergo, every thing considered, we find that the human being, endowed 
with an unchangeable body, is not liable to inetaraorplioses, and 
that his years caunot be prolonged. 

Kao Tsimg ^ having witnessed the abnormal growth of a paper 
mulberry,^ is reported to have repented of his faults, changed the 
style of government, and enjoyed happiness for one hundred years. 
This is not correct. Of Duke Ching of 8ung ^ it is said that on his 
having uttered three excellent maxims, the planet Mars left out 
three solar mansions, and twenty one years were added to the duke's 
life, 5 which is likewise unfounded. Duke Mu of CIi in" is believed 
to have been rewarded by God ^ with nineteen extra years on ac- 
count of his conspicuous virtue, an untruth too. CKih Sung ^ and 
Wang Cliiao^^ they say, became genii by their love of Tao, and 
lived on without dying, also a falsehood. 

Let us suppose that a man is born', gets a body, and is given 
the name A, then he always preserves this body called A through 
his whole life up to his death. Adherents of Tao are said to have 
become genii, but it never has happened that A was transformed 
into B; neither can the body pass through a metamorpliose, nor 
years be added. Wherefore? Because of tlie body, the vital force, 
and the constitution, which are from heaven. The body being 

1 Posthumous name of the Shang emperor Wu Ting^ 1324-1265 b.c. 

2 A paper mulberry tree grew in the court of the Emperor, which had two 
spans of circumference on the second day already. This was, of course, regarded 
as a portent. Cf. Ltm-hmg Bk. V, p. 1 {Yi Hsii) where the legend is told in full. 

3 According to the Shukinff Pt. V, Bk. XV {Le<jff€ Vol. III, Pt. II, p. 4G7) Kao 
Tsung reigned 59 years. 

* 515-451 B.C. 

6 This story is told in full in Lnm-heng Bk. IV, p. 9 v. which seems quoted 
from Huai Nan Tse XII, 1 Iv. The planet Mars being in the constellation of the 
" Heart," the astrologer Tse Wei infbnned the Duke that Heaven was going to 
inflict a punishment upon him, advising him, however, to shift this misfortune on his 
prime minister, or on his people, or on the year. The prince thrice declined to 
allow others to suffer in his stead, giving his reasons for each refusal. These are 
the three good maxims of our text. Tse Wei then changed and congratulated the 
Duke, saying that Heaven had heard the three excellent sentiments uttered by him, 
that the same night it would cause Mars to pass througli three solar mansions, and 
that it would add twenty-one years to his life, each mansion consisting of seven 
stars and each star representing one year. 

« G58-619 B.C. 

7 Shang Ti, the supreme being, God. 

8 A magician of the time of tShen Nung. 

" A prince of Chin 571 b.c, who became a Taoist and an ininiortal. He was 
seen riding through the air upon a white crane. Mayers^ No. 801. 

Unfounded Assertions. 


spring', the vital force is summer.' Man's lifetime is the outcome 
of his vitality. The body follows the vital force in its actions. If 
the vital force and the constitution are not the same, there must 
be a diversity in the bodies also. The life of an ox is half as 
long as that of a horse, and a liorse lives half as long as man. 
Therefore, the outward forms of tlie ox and the horse must be 
different from tlie human. Having obtained the shape of an ox 
or a liorse, one cannot but get tlieir spans too. As oxen and horses 
do not change into men, their lifetime is also shorter tliau that of 
human beings. 

Because of Kao Tmng and tlie like it is not stated that they 
underwent a transmutation, but simply that tlieir lifetime was leng- 
tlieiied, people put faith in these reports. The force pulsating in 
the veins of the body is like rice hoarded up in a sack. The bulk 
of a picul sack also corresponds to a picul. If rice be taken away 
or more added, tlie sack appears smaller or bigger. The vital force 
determines tlie length of the human life. It is like tlie rice, and 
tlie body like the sack. In order to increase or diniinisli tlie life- 
time, tlie body too must become bigger or tliinner, it cannot remain 
tlie same. Should anybody tliink the human body to be quite 
different from a sack, and that the vital force cannot well be com- 
pared to rice, we may still take another illustration from a gourd. 
The juice of a gourd is like tlie human blood, its pulp like flesh. 
Now, let a man take away or add some juice but so that tlie 
gourd's form remains unaltered; he will be unable to perform this. 
It being impossible to man to diminish or to replenish the juice 
of the gourd, how can Heaven extend or curtail the human span? 
As the Imman life can neither be lengthened nor shortened, avIio 
could have done sucli a thing iu tlie case of Kao Tsung and others, 
so that we might speak of an increase of years? The assertion 
that Kao Tsung aud others were metamorphosed, and tlieir years 
increased would after all be credible, but tlie statement advanced 
no、v that their years \vere prolonged, no mention being made of any 
transformation of their bodies, is past all belief for the following 
reason : 

Man receives the vital force from Heaven. When it is com- 
plete, the body is informed. During life both work harmoniously 
together up to the last, death. Since the body cannot be trans- 
formed, the years cannot be increased either. As long as man 

1 The meaning is. as summer is preceded by spring, thus the body exists, 
before it is informed by the vital force. 

B30 Lun -Heiig: C. Physical. 

lives, he can move, but wlien he dies, he collapses. At death the 
vital force vanishes, and the body is dissolved and decomposed. 
As a man, while iu possession of life, cannot be metamorphosed, 
how sliould his years be prolonged? 

What changes on the body from birth to old age is the hair 
and the skin. The youth's liair is black, the aged man's, white. 
Later on, it turns yellow. But tliis change concerns the hair alone, 
not the body. A youngster lias a white skin, an old man a dark 
one, wliicli, later on, becomes blackish, as if covered with dust. 
Respecting the yellow hair and the dusty skin tlie Li-ki says : " We 
will have yellow liair and wizened faces indefinitely." i If the 
hair changes, people reach an old age and die late. Despite this, 
bones and flesh do not change ; the limit of life being reached, 
death ensues. 

From amongst the five elements earth alone admits of several 
transformations. Moistened with water, it can be si i aped into a 
horse, and this again be altered into a human being, but be it 
noted that it must not yet have been put in a kiln and burned. 
If, after having been modelled as a utensil, it has already been 
hardened by burning in the kiln, a new transformation is out of 
the question. Now, man may be thought of as having been baked 
and moulded in the furnace of Heaven and Eartli. How can he 
still undergo a change after his shape has been fixed? 

In representing the bodies of genii one gives them a plumage, 
and their arms are changed into wings witli which they poise in 
tlie clouds. This means an extension of their lifetime. They are 
believed not to die for a thousand years. These pictures are false, 
for there are not only false reports in the world, but also fancy 
pictures. However, man in reality does not belong to the class 
of crickets and. moths. In the thirty-five kingdoms beyond the sea 
there live plumigerous and feathered tribes. Feathered relates to 
their pinions, Tliese people are the produce of their soil, it cannot 
be sai(l that their bodies Avere covered witli plumage and feathers 
through the influence of Tao. Yii^ and Yi'^ visited Hsi Wang Mu,^ 

1 This verse does not occur in the Liki, but in the Shi king Pt. IV, Bk. Ill, 
Ode II [Legge, Claa.sics Vol. IV, Pt. 11, p. : — " He (the ancestor) will bless us with 
the eyebrows of longevity.— We will have yellow hair and wizened laces indefinitely." 

2 Fore more details see the Shan-hai-kiny. 

3 Great Yii 2205-2197. 

4 A minister of Yii. 

5 A Taoist goddess. Cf. my article " Mu War?// und die Kdnir/in von Saba " 
ill the Mitteiluriffen drg Srminars Jur Orienlalische Sprachen zu Uerlin Vol. VII, 1 904. 

Unfounded Assertions. 


but she is not reported to have had a plumage or feathers. There 
are also immortals in foreign countries, but they are not described 
as having a plumage an d feathers, and, conversely, the plumigerous 
and feathered tribes are not said to be immortal. As pluimig'c and 
leathers are not ascribed to the immortals, these attributes cannot 
imply immortality, llow then can it be inferred that the genii 
must live for ever, because they have wings? 


Lun-Heng: C* Physical, 

• Taoist Untruths {Tao-hsil). 

In the books of the Literati it is stated that i Huang Ti ex- 
ploited the copper mines of Mount Shou 、乜 and out of the ore 
cast tripods at the foot of the Ching Mountain.^ When the tripods 
were completed, a dragon with a long beard came down, and went 
to meet Huang Ti, Huang 2,》' mounted the dragon. His whole suite 
including the harem, over seventy persons in all, mounted together 
with him, whereupon the dragon ascended. The remaining smaller 
officials, who could not find a seat ou the dragon, all got hold of 
the dragon's beard, which tliey pulled out. Huang Tis bow fell 
down. The people gazed after liiin, until he disappeared in the sky. 
Then tliey hugged his bow, and the dragon's beard, and moaned. 
Therefore later ages named the place Ting-hii (Tripod Lake) ^ and 
the bow of the emperor Wii-hao (Raven's Ciy), 

The Grand Annalist in his eulogy on the Five Empe7*07*s ^ also 
says that having performed the liill-sacrifice Huang Ti disappeared 
as a genius, and that his followers paid their respect to his garments 
and cap, and afterwards buried them." I say that this is not true. 

1 The following story is taken from the Shi-ch" chap. 28, p. 28 v., where an 
official relates it to Han Wu Ti. Cf, Chavannes, Mem. Hist Vol. Ill, p. 488. 

2 In Shan si Province, near P'u_chou-fu. 

3 This mountain lies in Shm -、 i, near Ilsi-an-Ju. . 

4 The context requires " Tripod beard," but we read yj'fjj instead 

of —j^' A place, called |^ y/ijj " Tripod lake " actually exists in Ho nan (Playfair 
Cities and Towns No. 732i)). This name has perhaps been the origin of the legend, 
as Wanff Chung suggests (cf. above p. 322). In ancient times only the phonetic part 
of a cliaractcr was often written, and the radical left out. Thus 月 could stand 

for "beard" as well as for j}i)J "lake," Our text has the "beard. 

Some commentators liold that the name \V"-/ 藝 -^j^ ― Raven's Cry 
refers to tlic laiiient of the people, otiicrs that it was the name of a tree well fit 
for the fabrication of bows. 

'; IJuanr/ Ti, 《,huan IJ.sii, A 】'wo, and S/nn, According to other writers 
the Five Emperors are: ― Hao, Yen Ti, Huang 7V, Shao Hao, and Chaan Ilsii. 

7 Shi-chi chap. 28, p. 30 v. When (Jliin Shih Huang Ti had sacrificed on the 
tomb of Ilaang 7V upon Mount (; hkio, he asked, how Huang 7,/ could be an immortal, 
and yet be buried there. Ttien soinel>ody replied that Huang Ti had ascended to 
liea\'cij as a genius, and that only his garments and cap were lel't and interred. 

Taoist Untruths. 


What does Huang Ti really mean? Is it an appellative or a 
posthumous title? Being a posthumous title it must be some praise 
bestowed upon him by his subjects, for this kind of title is a glori- 
fication of what the deceased lias done during his life-time. Huang 
Ti was a votary of Tao,^ and subsequently, as they say, rose to 
Heaven. If liis subjects wanted to honour him, they ought not to 
have styled him Huang , but ought to have given him a title im- 
plying his ascension as an immortal. 

According to the rules for honorary titles the pacification of 
the people would be called Huang, which means that he who is 
styled so kept the people at peace, ^ but the word does not denote 
the acquisition of Tao. Among the many emperors those given to 
arts and literature were called Wen i. e. Scholarly, those fond of 
War Wu i. e. Warriors. Both designations had their real basis. 
They served to exliort others to do the like. 

If at the time of Huang Ti posthumous titles were not vet 
given according to qualities, of what generation were those who 
first called him Huang Ti? Huang TVs own subjects must have known 
their prince, and later generations could trace his doings. Although 
our doubts about the existence of appellatives and posthumous titles 
at Huang TVs time may not be set at rest, at all events it is evident 
that Huang cannot mean an Immortal who rose to Heaven, 
.-z A dragon does not rise to Heaven. If Huang Ti rode on a 
dragon, it is clear that he could not liave ascended to Heaven 
either. When a dragon rises, clouds and rain appear simultaneously 
and carry it along. As soon as the clouds disperse, and tlie rain 
stops, the dragon comes clown again, and re-enters its pond. Should 
Huang Ti really have ridden on a dragon, he would afterwards 
have been drowned with the dragon in the pond. 

Huang Ti was interred in the C/iiao Mountain,^ and still they 
say that his officials buried his garments and cap. If he actually 
went up to Heaven on a dragon, his garments and cap cannot have 
separated from his body, and if he became a genius after the liill 
sacrifice and vanished, lie cannot have left his garments and cap 

1 The fundamental principle of Taoism. The Taoists have always claimed 
Huang Ti as one of theirs. Hence the legend of his ascension to heaven. 

2 This seems to me a fancy etymology. Huang is " yellow," but never 
means " to pacify." The " Yellow Emperor " was called yellow from the colour of 
the earth, over which he ruled. Thus the name is generally explained, whether 
correctly is doubtful. 

3 Some say that this mountain is situated in the province of Kansu, others 
more eastward in the province of Shensi. Vid. Shi-chi chap. 1, p. 8. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

behind either. Did Huang Ti really become a genius, who could 
not die, but rose to Heaven, his officers and people must have seen 
it Avitli their own eyes. Having thus witnessed his ascension to 
Heaven, they decidedly knew that he did not die. Now, to bury 
the garments and cap of somebody, who did not die, would have 
been, as if lie bad died. Such a thing would not Lave been in 
accordance with tlie feelings of the officials, who were aware of 
the real state of affairs, and could clistinguisli between life and death. 

It is on record that the seventy-two sovereigns who ascended 
Mount JV〃',i had troubled and toiled, worrying themselves over the 
state of the empire. Subsequently their efforts were crowned av itli 
success, and tilings settled, so that universal peace reigned througliout 
the land. When there was universal peace, the whole empire en- 
joyed liarmony and tranquillity. Then they ascended the T ai-shan, 
and performed tlie hill-sacrifices. Now, the pursuit of Tao and the 
struggle for iiumortality are different from the vexations of official 
life and business. He whose thoughts all centre in Tao, forgets 
worldly affairs, because to trouble about them would injure his 
nature's They^ say that Yao looked dried up and Slum withered. 
Their hearts were sorrowful, and their bodies feeble and care-worn. 
If Huang Ti brought about universal peace, his appearance must 
have been similar to that of Yao aud Shun. Since Yao and Shun 
did not attain to Tao, it cannot be true that Huang Ti rose to 
Heaven.^ If Huang Ti in liis pursuit of Tao neglected all wordly 
affairs, his mind would have been equanimous, and his body fat 
and strong. Then he would have been quite clifFerent from Yao and 
Shun、 and consequently his acliievements could not liave been tlie 
same, lu that case tlie universe would not have enjoyed universal 
peace. Without tlie universal peace liis sacrifice on the mountain 
would not have taken place. ^ 

The Five Emperors and Three Rulers were all remarkable for 
their wisdom and virtue, II 議 Ti not more than the others. If 
all the sages became genii, Ihiaug Ti would not be one alone, and 
if the sages did not become genii, why should Huang Ti alone be 

1 China's most sacred mountain in Shantanfj. 

2 Taoism inculcates contemplation and quietism, and abhors an active life. 

3 Only lie wlio possesses Tao, becomes immortal, and can asceiid to heaven. 
If the model emperors Yao and Shun did not attain to 'r《to, why should Huang Ti, 
provided that he worked as hard as Yao and Shun, 

4 The liill-sacrifice, was not performed, unless the empire enjoyed 
peace, and peace could not be secured without hard work. Hard work precluded 
a Taoiyt life, and without 7'"o, Huang Ti could not a.sceii(l on liigli. 

Taoist Untruth: 


a genius ? People seeing that Huang Ti was very partial to magical 
arts, which are practised by genii, surmised that lie was a genius. 

Moreover, on finding the name of " Ting-lni ,, "Tripod beard ,, ' 
they said that Huang Ti exploited the copper of IMount Shou, and 
cast it into tripods, and that a dragon with a floating beard came 
to meet him. This explanation would be on the same line with 
that of the KUiei-chi Mountain.- The purport of the name ol' this 
mountain is said to be that the emperor Yli of the Hsia dynasty 
on a tour of inspection held a meeting (會) and a review (稽) on 
this mountain, wlieiice its name KHei-diL^ Yii went to Iv uei-chi for 
the purpose of regulating the water courses, but not on a tour of 
inspection, just as Huang Ti was addicted to magic, but did not 
ascend to heaven. There was no such thing like a meeting or a 
review, as there was no casting of tripods, nor a dragon with a 
long beard. There is a village called Sheng-mu " Vanquish mother/' 
Does that mean that there was really a son wlio vanquished his 
mother? A city is called Chao-ko "Morning song." Are we to infer 
that the inhabitants of that city used to sing, when they rose in 
the morning? 

The books of the Literati relate that the Prince of Huai-nan ^ 
in his study of Taoism assembled all the Taoists of the empire, 
and humbled the grandeur of a princedom before the expositors of 
Taoist lore. Consequently, Taoist scholars flocked to Huai-nan and 
vied with each other in exhibiting strange tricks and all kinds of 
miracles. Then the prince attained to Tao and rose to heaven with 
bis whole household. His domestic animals became genii too. His 
dogs barked up in the sky, and the cocks crowed in the clouds. 
That means that there was such plenty of tlie drug of immortality, 
that clogs and cocks could eat of it, and follow the prince to 
Heaven. All who have a fad lor Taoism and 、、- oukl learn the art 
of immortality believe in this story, but it is not true. 

Man is a creature. His rank may be ever so high, even princely 
or royal, his nature cannot be different from that of other creatures. 
There is no creature but dies. How could man become an im- 

1 The text says " Tripod 】ake." Cf. above p. 332. 

2 In the province of Cheklang. 

3 This etymology is given by Sse Ma CKim, Shi-chi chap. 2, p. 26. 

4 Liu An, Prince of Huai-nan^ commonly known as Huai Nan y.、e, a Taoist 
philosopher and alchymist of the 2nd cent. b.c. He was a prince of the imperial 
laiuily of the Han emperors. His principality was situated in AnhuL 


Ltin - Heng : C. Physical. 

mortal ? Birds having feathers and plumes can fly, but tliey cannot 
rise to Heaven. How should man without feathers and plumes be 
able to fly and rise? Were lie feathered and winged, he would 
only be equal to birds, but he is not; how then should lie ascend 
to heaven ? 

Creatures capable of flying and rising, are provided with 
feathers and wings, others fast at running, have lioofs and strong 
feet. Swift runners cannot, fly, and flyers not run. Their bodies 
are differently organised according to the fluid they are endowed 
with. Now man is a swift runner by nature, therefore he does 
not grow feathers or plumes. From the time he is full-grown up 
till liis old age lie never gets them by any miracle. If amongst 
the believers in Taoism and the students of the art of immortality 
some became feathered and winged, they might eventually fly and 
rise after all. 

In case the nature of creatures could be changed, it ought to 
be possible that metal, wood, water, and fire were also altered.' 
Frogs can be changed into quails, and sparrows dive into the water 
and become clams.- It is the upshot of their spontaneous, original 
nature, and cannot be attained by the study of Tao. Lest tlie 
Taoists should be put ou a level with tlie aforesaid animals, I say 
that, if men could have all the necessary feathers and plumage, tliey 
might ascend to heaven. 

Now, the growth and development of creatures is not. abrupt, 
and its changes are not violent, but gradually brought about. It' 
tlie Taoists and students of immortality could first grow feathers 
and plumes several inches long, so that tliey could skim over tlie 
earth, and rise to the terra (; es of high buildings, one might believe 
tliat they can ascend to heaven. But tliey do not show that they 
arc able to fly even a small distance. How can they suddenly 
acquire the faculty of flying such a long way through the study of 
their miraculous arts without any gradual progress? That such a 
great result miglil be really dfected by means of fcatliers and wings 
cannot be ascertained. 

The human hair and l)eard, and the diHerent colours of tilings, 
when young and old, allbrd another cue. When a plant comes out, 
it lias a green colour, when it I'ijK'iis, it looks yellow. As long as 
man is young, his hair is black, when lie grows old, it turns white. 

1 The elements of wliicli the bodies of all creatures are composed cannot be 
transformed, therefore those creatures cannot, change their nature. 

'2 These metamorplioses are iiientioncd in ancient works, and believed by tlie 
Cliiiiese up to tlie present day. Cf. p. o2(). 

Taoist Untruths. 


Yellow is the sign of maturity, white of old age. After a plant 
has become yellow, it may be watered and tended ever so much, 
it does not become green again. When the hair lias turned white, 
no eating of drugs nor any care bestowed upon one's nature can 
make it black again. Black and green do not come back, how 
could age and decrepitude be laid aside? 

Yellow and white are like the frying of raw meat, and the 
cooking of fresh fish. What has been fried, cannot be caused to 
become raw again, and what lias been cooked, to become fresh. 
Fresh and raw correspond to young and strong, fried and cooked, 
to weak and old. Heaven in developing things can keep them 
vigorous up till autumn, but not further on till next spring. By 
SAvallowiiig drugs and nourishing one's nature one may get rid of 
sickness, but one cannot prolong one's life, and become an immortal. 
Immortals have a light body and strong vital energy, and yet they 
cannot rise to heaven. Light and strong though they be, they are 
not provided with feathers and wings, and therefore not able to 
ascend to heaven. 

Heaven and earth are both bodies. As one cannot descend 
into the earth, one cannot ascend into heaven. Such being the 
case, where would be a road leading up to heaven? Man is not 
strong enough to enter and pass through heaven's body. If the 
gate of heaven is in the North-west, all people rising to heaven 
must pass by the K'un-hm Mountain. The State of Hwai Nan Tse 
being situated in the South-east of the earth, lie must, if he really 
ascended to heaven, first have gone to iCun-lun with all liis house- 
hold, where he would have found an ascent. Provided tlie Prince 
of Huai-nan flew straight across the land to the nortli-western corner, 
flapping his wings, then he must have had feathers and wings. 
But since no mention is made of his passing by the K un-lun, iior 
of feathers and wings growing out of his body, the mere assertion 
of his ascension cannot be but wrong and untrue. 

Liu An^ prince of Iluai-nan, lived contemporaueously with the 
emperor Hsiao Wu Ti, His father Liu Chang was banished to Yen- 
tao^ in SJm^ for some offence, but died on the road, when he ar- 
rived at Yung-chou, Liu Aii, who succeeded him in his princedom, 
bore a grudge against the emperor for having caused his father's 

1 140-86 B.C. 

2 The modern Ya-chou-fu. 

3 An old kingdom in Ssechuan. 

4 One of the Nine Provinces, into which Yii divided the Empire, comprising 
Shend and Kansu. 

Lun -Heng. 



Lun -Heng: C. Physical. 

death in exile, and thought of making rebellion. He attracted all 
sorts of schemers, and intended great things. Men like Wu Pel filled 
his palaces, busy in writing books on the Taoist arts, and publishing 
essays on the most miraculous subjects. They were bustling about 
and putting their heads together. 

In the " Memoir of the Eight Companions " ' tliey wished to 
prove supernatural forces, as if they liad attained to Tao. But they 
never reached it, and had no success. Then Iluai Nan Tse plotted 
a rebellion together with Wii Pei. The scheme was discovered, and 
lie committed suicide or, as some say, was done to death. Whether 
this be the case, or whether he committed suicide is about the 
same. But people finding liis writings very deep, abstruse, and 
mysterious, and believing that the predictions of the " Pa-kung- 
ckuan " had been fulfilled, divulged the story that he had become 
a genius, and went up to lieaven, which is not in accordance 
with truth. 

It is chronicled in the books of the Literati ^ that L/u Ao^ 
when wandering near the " Northern Sea," ^ passed the " Great 
North," and through the " Dark Gate " ^ entered upon the Mon- 
golean " plateau. There lie beheld an individual with deep eyes, 
a black nose and tlie neck of a wild goose. Lifting his shoulders, 
he soared up, and rapidly came down again, gamboling and dis- 
porting all the time against the wind. When he caught sight of 
Lu Ao, he suddenly took down his arms, and sought refuge under 
a rock. Lu Ao saw him there resting on the back of a tortoise 
and eating an oyster. 

Lu Ao accosted him saying, " Sir, I believe that, because 1 
have given up what the world desires, separating from my kindred 
and leaving my home, in order to explore what is outside of the 
six cardinal points, ? you will condemn me. I began travelling in 
my youth. When I had grown up, I did not care for the ordinary 

1 The eight principal Taoist associates of" Huai JSan Tse, one of which was 
Wei Fu. 

2 The following story is taken from Huai Nan Tse. 

3 A traveller of the 3rd cent. b.c. 

4 This expression can mean the Gobi. 

■' The " Great North " and the " Dark Gate " are Taoist fancy names. 

6 It is interesting to note the name Mongol 秦受 here. The last character 
is written now. The Mongols were already known to the Chinese under their 
actual name in the second century b.c, when they were living in the north of China. 

7 To wit the four quarters, above and below. 

Taoist Untruth; 


duties of man, but managed to travel about. Of the four poles 
tlie " Greath North " is the only one which I have not yet seen. 
Now unexpectedly I find you here, Sir. Shall we not become 

The stranger burst out laughing and said, " Why, you are a 
Chinaman. You ought not to come as far as this. Yet sun and 
moon are still shining here. There are all the stars, the four 
seasons alternate, and the Yin and the Yang are still at work. Com- 
pared to the " Nameless Region " this is only like a small hill. 
I travel south over the " Weary Waste," and lialt north in the 
" Hidden Village." I proceed west to the " Obscure Hamlet," and 
pass east through the " Place of Dimness." There is no earth 
beneath, and no heaven above. Listening one does not hear, and 
to the looker-on the objects flit away from sight. Beyond that 
region there is still shape. Where that ends, one advances ten 
million Li by making one step. I could not yet get there. You, 
Sir, reached only tliis place in your travels, but speak of exploring. 
Is not that an exaggeration? But, please, remain. I have to meet 
■Han Man ^ on the ninth heaven,^ and cannot stay longer." ― The 
stranger then raised his arms, gave liis body a jerk, and off he 
went into the clouds. 

Lu Ao stared after him, until he became invisible. His heart 
was full of endless joy, and at the same time he was grieved, as 
though lie had lost somebody. " Compared with you, my master, 
said he, I am nothing more than an earth-worm is to a wild goose. 
Crawling the whole clay, I do not advance more than some feet, 
but myself consider it far. It is pitiable indeed." ― 

Such as Lu Ao held that dragons alone have no wings, and 
when tliey rise, ride on the clouds. Had Lu Ao said that tlie 
stranger had wings, his words might be credible. But lie did not 
speak of wings, Low could tlie otlier then ascend to the clouds ? 

Those creatures whicli with agility rise into the clouds, do 
not take liuman food or human drink. The dragon's food is different 
from that of snakes, hence its movements are not tlie same as 
those of snakes. One hears tliat the Taoists drink an elixir made 
of gold and gems and eat the flowers of the purple boletus. These 
extremely fine stuffs make their bodies light, so that tliey become 
spirits and genii. The stranger ate the flesh of an oyster. Such 
is the food of ordinary people, by no means fine, or rendering the 

1 This is probably the name of a genius. 

2 According to the belief of the Taoists there are nine superposed stages or 
spheres of the heavens. 



Lun -Heng: C. Physical. 

body light. How could he then have given himself a jerk and 
ascended to heaven ? 

I have heard that those who feed on air do not take solid 
food, and that tlie latter do not eat air. The above mentioned 
stranger ate something substantial. Since he did not live on air, 
lie could not be so light, that he might have risen on liigL. 

May be that Lu Ao studying Tao and trying hard to become 
an immortal, travelled to the Northern Sea. Having left human 
society, and gone far away, he felt that he did not succeed 
in acquiring Tao. He was ashamed and afraid, lest his fellow- 
countrymen should criticize him. Knowing that tilings would cert- 
ainly turn out so, that every body would reproach him, he invented 
the extravagant stories. He said that he met with a stranger. 
The meaning of the whole story is that liis efforts to become im- 
mortal were not successful, and tliat time had not yet come. 

In the case of Liu An^ Prince of Hitai-nan, who suffered death 
as a punishment of rebellion, all people heard of it, and at that 
time saw it, and yet the books of tlie Literati say that lie obtained 
Tao, and disappeared as a genius, and that his cocks and dogs 
weut up to Leaven also. We cannot be surprised then that Lu Ao^ 
who alone went to a far-off country, leaving no trace, should speak 
obscure and mysterious words. His case is similar to that of Hsiang 
Man Tu ^ of P u-fan^ in Ho-tung.^ 

Hsiang Man Tu was a follower of Tao and a student of spirit- 
ism. He abandoned liis family, and went away. Wlien after three 
years absence lie came back, his people asked liim, what had hap- 
pened to liim. Hsiang Man Tu replied "I have no clear recollection 
of my departure, but I suddenly found myself as if lying clown. 
Several genii appeared, who took me up to lieaven, until we were 
at some few Li's distance from the moon. 工 saw that above and 
beneath the moon all was dark, so that 1 could not distinguish 
East and West. Where we stopped near the moon, it was bitter 
cold. I felt hungry, and wished to eat, when a genius gave me 
a cupful of morning-red to drink. After having taken one cup, one 
does not feel hunger for several months. I do not know, how many- 
years or months I stayed there, nor what fault 1 committed, for sud- 
denly I found myself asleep again, and brought down to this place." 

1 In the " Water Classic " 7|C 輕注 Ihiang Man Tu 頃 曼 者 is called 
Hsiany Niny Tu 者 |$ • 

2 The modern P'u-chou-fa in Shansi. 

3 A circuit comprising the southern part of ShansL 

Taoist Untruths. 


The Ilo-tung people gave him the surname of " Fallen Angel." 
But dealing tlioroughly with the subject, we find that this story 
is impossible. If Hsiang Man Tu could rise to heaven, lie must 
have become a geuius. II ow could he return after three years' time? 
If a man leaves his kindred, and ascends to heaven, his vital fluid 
and his body must have undergone a change. Now, all creatures 
that have been metamorphosed, do not return to their previous 
state. When a chrysalis has changed into a cricket, and received 
its wings, it cannot be transmuted into a chrysalis again. All 
creatures that ily up, have wings. When they fly up, and come 
down again, their wings are still there as before. Had Hsiang Man 
Tu s body had wings, his tale might be reliable, but since it had 
not, his talk is futile and not more trustworthy than Lu Ao's. 

Perhaps it was known at his time that Hsiang Man Tu was 
a fervent believer in Tao, who stealthily left his home, and wandered 
about in distant lands. At last, when he achieved nothing, and 
felt liis strength exhausted, and his hope gone, lie stealthily re- 
turned home, but being ashamed, if lie had nothing to say, lie 
told the story of his ascension to heaven, intimating thereby that 
Tao could be learned, and that there really were genii, and that 
lie himself was degraded for some fault, after having reached the 
goal, first rising to heaven, and then coming down again. 

The books of the Literati contain the statement that the king 
of Ch i being dangerously ill, a messenger was sent to Sung to fetch 
Wen Chih. ^ When he arrived and §aw the king's sickness lie said 
to the heir-apparent: " The king's illness can certainly be cured, 
but when it has been, the king is sure to kill me." 

The heir- apparent inquired what for, Wen Chih replied, "With- 
out anger the king's illness cannot be cured, but when the king 
gets angry, my death is certain." 

The heir-apparent bowed his head, and entreated him saying, 
" Should you cure the king's sickness, myself and my mother are 
going to forcibly restrain the king at the cost of our lives. The 
king will certainly please ray mother. We are wishing that you, 
master, shall have no trouble." 

Wen Chih gave his consent and said that he was prepared to 
die. The king with his eldest son fixed a time. Thrice the phy- 

' A famous doctor, who cannot have lived later than the 4th cent, b.c, for 
he is mentioned in Lieh Tae. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

sician was expected, but did not come so, that the king of CKi was 
already very angry. When lie came at last, lie did not put oil' 
his shoes, but walked upon the bed and tread upon the sheets. 
He asked the king about his sickness, but the king was so furious, 
that he did not speak witli liim. Then he said something which 
but aggravated the king's wrath. The king abused liiin, and rose 
up, and hi S3 disease was gone. He was so enraged and so little 
pleased, that lie wished to boil Wen Chili alive. ^ The heir-apparent 
and the queen forthwith interfered, but could obtain nothing. Wen 
Chih was actually boiled alive in a cauldron : After tliree days' and 
three night's cooking, his appearance liad not yet changed. Wen 
Chih said, " If one really is anxious to kill me, why does one not 
put on tlie lid to intercept the Yin and the Yang fluids." 

The king had tlie lid put on, whereupon Wen Chih died. 
Wen Chih was a Taoist, in water lie was not drowned, and in fire 
he did not burn. 2 Hence lie could remain three days and three 
nights in the kettle without changing colour. 

This is idle talk. Wen Chih was boiled three days and nights 
without changing colour. If then only in consequence of the lid 
being put on he was choked and died, this proves that lie was 
not in possession of Tao. All living and breathing creatures die, 
when deprived of air. When they are dead and boiled, tliey 
become soft. If living and breathing creatures are placed in vessels 
with a lid on, having all their fissures carefully filled, so that the 
air cannot circulate, and their breath cannot pass, they die instant- 
aneously. Thrown into a kettle with boiling water, they are also 
cooked soft. Why ? Because they all have the same kind of body, 
the same breath, are endowed by heaven with a similar nature, 
and all belong to one class. If Wen Chih did not breathe, he would 
have been like a piece of metal or stone, and even in boiling water 
not be cooked soft. Now he was breathing, therefore, wlien cooked, 
he could not but die. 

If Wen Chih could speak, he must have given sounds, which 
require breathing. Breathing is closely connected with the vital 
force, which resides in bones and flesh. Beings ol" bones and flesh 
being cooked, die. To deny that is the first untruth. 

Provided that Wen Chih could be cooked without dying, he 
was a perfect Taoist, similar to metal or stone. To metal or stone 
it makes no difference, whether a lid be put on, or not. Tliei'e- 

A parallel passage of this stoi'y occurs in the Lu-shih-cKun-cKiu . 
That is what the Taoists say of themselves. 

Taoist Untruths. 


fore, to say that Wen Chili died, when the lid was put on, is a 
second untruth. 

Put a man into cold water, which is not hot like boiling 
water, and lie will die for want of breath after a short interval, 
his nose and mouth beino; shut out from the outer air. Submerged 
in cold Avater, a man cannot remain alive, how mucli less in bub- 
bling, boiling water, in the midst of a violent fire? To say that 
Wen Chill survived in the boiling water is a third uutrutli. 

When a man is submerged in water, so tliat his mouth is not 
visible outside, the sound of what he says is inaudible. When 
Wen Chill was cooked, his body was certainly submerged in the 
kettle, and his mouth invisible. Under those circumstances one 
could not bear, wliat lie said. That Wen Chih should have spoken 
is the fourth untruth. 

Had a man who after three clays' and three nights' cooking 
died, not clianged colour, even ignorant people would have been 
amazed. If the king of CKi was not surprised, the heir-apparent and 
his ministers should have noticed this "-onclerful fact. In their 
astouishmeiit at Wen Chih they would have prayed that lie be taken 
out, granted liigli honours, and be venerated as a master, from 
whom one might learn more about Tao. Now three days and three 
nights are mentioned, but uotliing is said about the officials asking 
for his release. That is the fifth untruth. 

At that time it was perhaps known that Wen CItih was actually 
cooked, and that Ms death was caused by it. People noticing 
that lie was a Taoist, invented the story that lie lived a subtle 
life, and did not die, just as Huany Ti really died, whereas the 
reports say that lie rose to heaven, and as the prince of Huai-nan 
suffered the puuishmeut of rebellion, whilst the books say that he 
entered a new life. There are those who like to spread false 
reports. Hence tlie story of Wen Chih lias been propagated until now. 

There are no instances of any one having obtained Tao, but 
there have been very long-lived persons. People remarking that 
those persons, while studying Tao and the art of immortality, be- 
come over a hundred years old without dying, call tliem immortals, 
as the following example will show. 

At the time of Han Wu JV there lived a certain Li Shao Chiin, 
who. pretended that by sacrificing to the '- Hearth ,• and abstaining 
from eating grain he could v、'iml off old ag-e. He sa、v tlie emperor, 
who conferred high honours upon hi in. Li Shao Chiin kept his age 

1 140-85 B.C. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

and the place where lie was born and had grown up secret, always 
saying that lie was seventy old, and could effect that things did 
not grow old. On his journeys he visited all the princes around, 
and was not married. On hearing tliat lie could manage that things 
did not age, people presented him witli mucli richer gifts than tliey 
would otherwise Lave done. He had always money, gold, dresses, 
and food in abundance. As people believed that he did not do 
any business, and was yet richly provided with everything, and 
as nobody knew, what sort of a man lie really was, there was a 
general competition in offering him services. 

Li Shao Chiin knew some clever manoeuvres and some fine 
tricks, wliich did not fail to produce a wonderful effect. He used 
to feast with the Marquis of Wu-an.^ In the hall there was a man 
of over 90 years. Li Shao Chiin indicated to him the places wliicli 
his grand-fatlier frequented, when sliootiug. The old man knew 
them, having visited tliem as a cliild with his father. The whole 
audience was bewildered. 

When Li Shao Chiin saw the emperor, the emperor had an 
old bronze vase, about which he asked him. Li Shao Chun replied 
that in the 15th year - of the reign of Duke Huan of CKi^ it was 
placed in the Po-ch in hall. The inscription was examined, and it. 
was found out that it was indeed a vessel of Duke Huan of Ch i. 
The whole Court was startled, and thought that Li Shao Chiin was 
several hundred years old.* After a long time he died of sickness. 

Those who now-a-days are credited with the possession of 
Tao are men like Li Shao Chiin. He died amongst men. His body 
was seen, and one knew, therefore, that his nature had been lon- 
gevous. Had he dwelt in mountain-forests or gone into deserts, 
leaving no trace behind him, lie would have died a solitary deatli 
of sickness amidst high rocks. His corpse would have been food 
for tigers, wolves, and foxes, but the world would again have be- 
lieved him to have disappeared as a real immortal. 

The ordinary students of Tao have not Li S/iao Chiin s age. 
Before reaching a hundred years tliey die, like all tlic others. Yet 
uncultured and ignorant people still hold tliat they are separated 
from their bodies, and vanish, and tliat, as a matter of fact, they 
do not die. 

1 A district in I Ton an. The name of the Marquis was T'icn Fen. 

2 The Shih-chi says the tenth year. 

3 Duke Huan of Ch'i reigned from 683-641 b.c. The 15th year of his reign 
was 669. 

* This story of Li Shao Chiin is quoted from the Shi-chi chap. 28, p. 21. 

Taoist Untruths. 


What is unclerstood by separation from the body? Does it 
mean that the body dies, and the spirit disappears? Or that the 
body does not die, but drops its coil? If one says that the body 
dies, and the spirit is lost, there is no difference from death, and 
every one is a genius. And if one believes that the body does not 
die, but throws oli" its coil, oue must admit that the bones and 
the flesh of all the deceased Taoists are intact and in no wise 
different from tlie corpses of ordinary mortals. 

When the cricket leaves its chrysalis, the tortoise drops its 
shell, the snake its skin, and the stag its horns, iu short, when 
the horned and skinned animals lose their outward cover, retaining 
only their flesh and bones, one might speak of the separation from 
the body. But eveu if the body of a dead Taoist were similar to 
a chrysalis, one could not use this expression, because, when the 
cricket leaves the chrysalis, it cannot be considered as a spirit with 
regard to the chrysalis. Now to call it a separation from the body, 
when there is not even a similarity with the chrysalis, would again 
be an unfounded assertion missing the truth. 

The Grand Annalist was a contemporary of Li Shao Chun. 
Although lie was not amongst those who came near to Li Shao 
Chun's body, when he had expired, he was in a position to learn 
the truth. If he really did not die, but only parted with his body, 
the Grand Annalist ought to have put it on record, and would not 
have given the place of his death. 

The reference to the youth of the nonagenarian in the court 
would prove Li Shao Chlins age. Perhaps he was fourteen or fif- 
teen years old, when the old man accompanied his grandfatlier as 
a boy. Why should Li Shao Chi'in not know this, if he lived 
200 years? 1 

Wii TVs time is very far from Duke Huan, when the bronze 
vase was cast, 2 and Li Shao CJiiin cannot have seen it. Perhaps 
lie heard once that in the palace there was an old vessel, or lie 
examined the inscription beforehand to speak upon it, so that he 
was well-informed, wlien he saw it again. When our amateurs of 
to-day see an old sword or an antique crooked blade, they gener- 
ally know where to place it. Does that imply that they saw, how 
it was wrought? 

1 Why 200 years ? Li Shao Chun would have known the nonagenarian's 
grandfather, if he was about ninety years old himself. 

2 The interval is upwards of 500 years. 


Lun-Hcjig: C. Physical. 

Tung Fang So is said to have also been possessed of Tao. His 
name was Chin, his style Man C/iieu, but he changed his names 
and for a time took office with the Han dynasty. Outwardly lie 
was considered an official, but inwardly he passed to another 

This is wrong too. Tung Fang So lived together with Li 
Shao Chun under the reign of Wu Ti, and must have been known 
to the Grand Annalist. Li Shao Chan taught Tao and a method 
to keep off old age by means of sacrificing to the " Hearth." He 
determined the period of a tripod cast under Duke Huan of Ch'i, 
and knew the places frequented, when hunting, by the grandfather 
of a nonagenarian, and yet he did not really attain to Tao. He 
was only a long-lived man, who died late. Moreover, Tung Fang 
So was not as successful as Li Shao Chun in magical arts, where- 
fore then was lie credited with the possession of Tao? Under Wu 
Ti there were the Taoists Wen Cli eng and Wu Li and others of the 
same type, who went on sea in search of the genii and to find the 
physic of immortality. Because they evidently knew the Taoist 
arts, they were trusted by the Emperor. Tung Fang So undertook 
no mission on sea, nor did lie do anything' miraculous. If lie had 
done, lie would only have been a man like Li Shao Chiln or on a 
level with Wm CK eng and Wu Li. Nevertheless he had the chance 
to be credited with the possession of Tao. He again resembled 
Li Shao Chiln, iusomuch as he made a secret of his birth place, 
and the courtiers did not know his origin. He exaggerated his 
age. People finding that lie looked rather strong and young and 
was of phlegmatic temper, that lie did not care much for his office, 
but was well versed in divination, guessing, and other interesting 
plays, called him therefore a man possessed of Tao. 

There is a belief that by the doctrine of Lao Tse one can 
transcend into another existence. Through (quietism and dispassiou- 
ateaess one nourishes the vital force, and cherishes tlie spirit. The 
length of life is based on the animal spirits. As long as tlicy are 
unimpaired, lil'e goes on, and there is no death. Lao Tse acted 
upon this principle. Having done so for over a hundred years, lie 
passed into another existence, and became a true Taoist sage. 

Who can be more quiet and liavc less desires tliaii birds and 
animals? But birds and animals likewise age and die. However, 
we will not sjx'ak of birds and animals, the passions of wliicli are 

Taoist Untruths. 


similar to the hum an. But which are the passions of plants and 
slirubs, that tliey are born in spring, and die in autumn? They 
are dispassionate, aud their lives do not extend further than one 
year. Men an' full of passions and desires, and yet tliey can be- 
come a hundred years old. Thus the dispassionate die prematurely, 
aud the passionate live long. Hence Lao Tse's theory to prolong 
life and enter a new existence by means of quietism and absence 
of desires is wrong, /j 

Lao Tse was like Li Shao Chlin. He practised his theory of 
quietism, and his life happened to be long of itself. But people 
seeing this, and hearing of his quietism, thought that by his art 
he passed into another existence. 

The idea prevails that those who abstain from eating grain, 
are men well versed in the art of Tao. They say e. g. that Wang 
Tse Cliiao i and the like, because tliey did not touch grain, aud 
lived on different food than ordinary people, had not the same 
length of life as ordinary people, in so far as having passed a 
hundred years, they transcended into another state of being, and be- 
came immortals. 

That is another mistake. Eating and drinking are natural 
impulses, with which we are endowed at birth. Hence the upper 
part of the body has a moutli and teeth, the inferior part orifices. 
With the mouth and teeth oue chews and eats, the orifices are for 
the discharge. Keeping in accord witli one's nature, one follows 
the law of lieaven, going against it, one violates one's natural pro- 
pensities, and neglects one's natural spirit before heaven. How can 
one obtain long life in this way? 

If Wang Tse C/iiao had got no mouth, teeth, or orifices at 
birth, liis nature would have been different from that of others. 
Even then one could hardly speak of long life. Now, the body 
is the same, only the deeds being different. To say that in this 
way one can transcend into another existence is not warranted by 
human nature. 

For a man not to eat is like not clothing the body. Clothes 
keep the skin warm, and food fills the stomach. With a warm 
epidermis and a Avell-filled belly the animal spirits are bright and 
exalted. If one is liiingi y, and has nothing to eat, or feels cold, 
and has nothing to warm one's self, one may freeze or starve to 
death. How can frozen and starved people live longer than others? 

1 A magician of the 6th cent, b.c, son of King Ling of the Chou dynasty. 
He is reported to have been seen riding on a white crane through the air as an 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

Moreover, during his life man draws his vital force from food, 
just as plants and trees do from earth. Pull out the roots of a 
plant or a tree, and separate them from tlie soil, and the plant 
will wither, and soon die. Shut a man's mouth, so that he cannot 
eat, and he will starve, but not be long-lived. 

The Taoists exalting each other's power assert that the " pure 
man " eats the fluid, that the fluid is his food. Wherefore the 
books say that the fluid-eaters live long, and do not die, that, 
although they do not feed on cereals, they become fat and strong 
by the fluid. 

This too is erroneous. What kind of fluid is understood by 
fluid? If the fluid of the Yin and the Yang be meant, this fluid 
cannot satiate people. They may inhale this fluid, so that it fills 
their belly and bowels, yet they cannot feel satiated. If the fluid 
inherent in medicine be meant, man may use and eat a case full of 
dry drugs, or swallow some ten pills. But the effects of medicine 
are very strong. They cause great pain in the chest, but cannot 
feed a man. The meaning must certainly be that the fluid-eaters 
breathe, inhaling and exhaling, emitting the old air and taking in 
the new. Of old, P'eng Tsu ^ used to practise this. Nevertheless 
he could not live indefinitely, but died of sickness. 

Many Taoists hold that by regulating one's breath one can 
nourish one's nature, pass into another state of being-, and become 
immortal. Their idea is that, if tlie blood vessels in the body be 
not always in motion, expanding and contracting, an obstruction 
ensues. There being no free passage, constipation is the conse- 
quence, wliic.h causes sickness and death. 

Til is is likewise without, any foundation. Man's body is like 
that of plants and trees. Plants and trees growing on the summits 
of lii^li mountains, where tliey are exposed to the squalls of wind, 
are moved day and ni<>lit, but do they surpass those that are 
hidden in mountain valleys and sheltered from wind? 

1 Tlie Chinese Methusaleh, who is believed to have lived over 800 years, 
and to have been ; i great grandson of the legendary Emperor Chuan JJsii 2514 b.c. 

TaoLst Untruths. 


When plants and trees, while growing, are violently shaken, 
they are injured, and pine away. Why tlien should man by 
drawing liis breath and moving his body gain a long- life and not 
die? The blood arteries traverse the body, as streams and rivers 
flo、v through the land. While thus flowing, the latter lose tlieir 
limpidity, and become turbid. When the blood is moved, it be- 
comes agitated also, which causes uneasiness. Uneasiness is like 
the hardships man lias to endure without remedy. How can that 
be conducive to a long life ? 

The Taoists sometimes use medicines with a view to rendering 
their bodies more supple and their vital force stronger, hoping 
thus to prolong their years and to enter a new existence. 

This is a deception likewise. There are many examples that 
by the use of medicines the body grew more supple and the vital 
force stronger, but the world affords no instance of the prolongation 
of life and a new existence following. 

The different physics cure all sorts of diseases. When they 
have been cured, the vital force is restored, and then the body 
becomes supple again. According to man's original nature his body 
is supple of itself, and his vital force lasts long of its own accord. 
But by exposure to wind and wetness he falls a victim to hundreds 
of diseases, whence his body becomes heavy and stiff, and his force 
is weakened. By taking an efficacious remedy he restores 】iis body 
and the vital force. This force is not small at the outset, or the 
body heavy, and it is not by medicine that the force lasts long, 
or the body grows supple and light. When first received, i they 
already possess those qualities spontaneously. Therefore, when by 
medicines the various diseases are dispelled, the body made supple, 
and the vital force prolonged, they merely return to their original 
state, but it is impossible to add to the number of years, let alone 
the transition into another existence. 

Of all the beings with blood in their veins there are none 
but are born, and of those endoAved with life there are none but 
die. From the fact that tliey were bom, one knows that tliey 
must die. Heaven and Earth were not born, therefore tliey do 
not die. The Yin and the Yang were not born, therefore tliey do 
not die. Death is the correlate of birth, and birth tlie counter- 
part of death. That which has a beginning, must have an end, 
and that which has an end, must necessarily have had a begin- 

1 Viz. received by man at his birth, when Heaven endows him with a body 
and the vital fluid. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

ning. Only what is without beginning or end, lives for ever and 
never dies. ^ 

Human life is like water. Water frozen gives ice, and the 
vital force concentrated forms the humau being. Ice lasts one 
winter, then it melts, man lives a hundred years, than lie dies. 
Bid a man not to die, can you bid ice not to melt? All those 
who study tlie art of immortality and trust that there are means, 
by which one does not die, must fail as sure, as one cannot cause 
ice never to melt. 

1 This the Taoists say of their fundamental principle. " Tao is without 
beginning, without end," says Chiian(j Tse chap. 17, p. 13, and thus the Taoists 
which have become one with Tao, are iinmoital. 

On Dragons. 


On Dragons {Lung-hsu). 

When in midsummer during a tliunder-storm liglitning strikes 
a tree or demolishes a house, it is a common saying that Heaven 
fetches the dragon, wliicli is believed to hide in the tree, or to be 
concealed in the house. The lightning striking tlie tree, or deniol- 
isliing the house, tlie dragon appears outside. Ou its appearance, 
it is seized upon by tlie thunder, and carried up to Heaven. The 
unintelligent aud the learned, the virtuous and the wicked are all 
agreed upon tins, but trying to get at the truth, we find that it 
is idle talk. 

Why should Heaven fetch the dragon? Provided that the 
dragon be a spirit and Heaven's envoy, as a virtuous minister is 
tlie deputy of his sovereign, then it ought to report itself at a 
fixed time, and would not have to be fetched. If, on the other 
hand, the dragon sneaks away, and does not come back, it does 
uot behave like a spirit, and would be of no use to Heaven. 

According to tlie dragon's nature its real abode is Heaven. 
Being there it certainly must have offspring. There would be uo 
reason, why it should be on earth again. If there are rising and 
descending dragons, the latter class might bear its offspring on eartli, 
and Heaven fetch it, when grown up. People call a tempest an 
expression of Heaven's auger, but in fetching tlie scion of a dragon 
it cannot be angry. 

Further the dragon generally lives in pouds, not in trees or 
houses. Whence do we know that? Shu Hsiang's ^ mother said: 
" In the depths of mountains and in vast marshes dragons and 
snakes really grow.'" And in books we read, " Where the 
mountains are highest, the rain clouds rise, and where the water 
is deepest, the different species of dragons are born." 3 The annals 

1 A minister in Chin, 6th cent. b.c. 

2 Quoted from the Tso-chunn, Duke Hsiang Slst year {Legge, Classics Vol. V, 
Pt. II, p. 491). The mother of Shu Hsiang spoke these words in a figurative sense, 
with reference to Shu Hsiang' x half-brother, and his beautiful mother, a concubine 
of her husband. Cf. p. 302. 

3 A parallel passage, worded a little diirereiitly, occurs in Hsiin Tse. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

go on to say that, when Yu crossed the Yangise, a yellow dragon 
carried liis boat on its back,^ and that, when Ching Tse Fei went 
over the Hua'i, two dragons swam round Lis ship. Near tlie 
Eastern Sea 2 there lived Lu Chiu Hsin, a bold and strong man. 
When he once passed the Spirit Pool, lie ordered his charioteer 
to give liis horse to drink there, but when it drank, it sank down. 
Lu Chill Hsin got angry, drew liis sword, and went into tlie pool 
in pursuit of liis horse. He then beheld two dragons just in the 
act of devouring his horse. Sword in hand, he slew the two dragons, 
Heuce it is evident that the dragons called " chiao " * and the others 
always live in the water of pools, and not on trees or in houses. 

Living in deep water dragons belong to the same category 
as fish and reptiles. Why should fish and reptiles ascend to 
Heaven, and what could Heaven use the dragon for, if it fetched 
it up? If the Spirit of Heaven should ride on the dragon, a spirit 
is something diffuse and incorporeal. Entering and departing, it 
needs no aperture, neither would it require a dragon to ride upon. 
Should the genii mount the dragon, then Heaven would fetch it 
for their sake. But the genii are imbued with the fluid of Heaven, 
and their bodies are so light, that they can fly up like wild geese. 
Therefore, why should they ride upon dragons? 

People in general say that Huang Ti ascended to Heaven on 
a dragon. This statement is as inane as the other, made uow-a- 
days, that Heaven fetches the dragon. If the dragon is said to 
rise to Heaven, it implies a dragon spirit, because only a spirit can 
soar oil liigh, this being in fact a characteristic feature of spirits. 

Among the creatures produced by Heaven and Earth man 
being the noblest, the dragon must be inferior. If the noblest are 
not spirits, can the inferior be so? Let us suppose tliat the nature 
of dragons be such, that some of them are spirits, the others not, 
and tliat the spirits rise to Heaven, while those that are not spirits, 
cannot: are turtles and snakes likewise partly spirits and partly not, 
and can tlie turtle spirits and tlie snake spirits ascend to Heaven? 

Moreover, what essence is tlie dragon endowed with, that it 
should alone be a spirit? Heaven lias the four constellations of 
the Blue Dragon, the White Tiger, the Scarlet Bird, and the Black 

_ 21 

1 This fact is recorded in the Lu Shi/i diun-cliiu and in Iluai Nan Tse VII, 
Hv. Vid. also Lnm-hmg Bk. V, p. 4 {Yi-hsii). 
'么 Tlie Yellow Sea, east of China. 

3 TIlis story is narrated in the Ilan-shih-imi- chuan 150 B.C. and the Po-vou- 
chih, wlierc the hero is called Tsai (Jhiu Hsin however. 

On Dragons. 


Tortoise. Earth also has dragons, tigers, scarlet birds, and turtles. 
The essence of the four constellations pouring down, produces those 
four animals. The tiger, the scarlet bird, and the turtle not being 
spirits, wherefore sliould the dragou alone be a spirit? 

Man ranks first among tlie naked creatures, as the dragon is 
the foremost of the scaly animals. Both take the first place among 
their kindred. If the dragon is believed to ascend to Heaven, does 
man rise to Heaven likewise ? If under the above respect the dragon 
is oil the same level with mau, but alone credited with the faculty 
of ascending to Heaven, the dragon must be supposed to be a spirit. 

The world also says that the sages being spirits, have the 
gift of propliecy, as they say that the dragon spirits are able to 
soar to Heaven. The divination of the sages thus being accounted 
for, it is but natural that the special talent of the dragou sliould 
be found in its power to rise to Heaven. 

That which amidst Heaven and Earth is vague and un- 
substantial as the vapours of cold and lieat, wind and rain, has tlie 
nature of a spirit. Now tlie dragon lias a body, having a body, 
it moves about, moving about, it eats, and eating, it has the nature 
of other creatures. According to the organisation -of Heaven and 
Eartli whatever possesses a body, moves about, and eats, cannot 
be a spirit. How so? 

The dragon lias a body. One finds in books the statement, 
that out of the three hundred scaly animals the dragou is the first. 
Being the first of the scaly animals, Low can it be without a body? 

Confucius said that the dragon fed in limpid places, and lived 
there, that the tortoise fed in limpid places, and lived iu the mud, 
and that the fisli feci iu the mud, and lived in clear water. He 
did not attain to the dragon himself, but was neither equal to 
the fish, he was only to be compared to the tortoise, which takes 
tlie middle rank. 

The Shan-hai-Jcmg i relates that beyond the four seas there are 
men riding on dragon snakes. As a rule, dragons are pictorially 
represented with a horse's head and a snake's tail. Hence they 
must be hybrids between tlie horse and the snake. 

Shen Tse'^ informs us that the flying dragons mount the clouds, 
aud that the soaring serpents ramble tlirougli the fog. When tlie 
clouds disperse, and the rain ceases, they are like earthworms and ants. 

1 The " Mountain and Sea Classic," the oldest geographical work of the 4th 
or the 3rd cent. b.c. 

2 The Taoist philosopher Shen T ao of the 5th cent, b.c, of whose works 
only fragments are left. 

Lun-Heng. 23 


Lun -Heng: C. Physical. 

Han Fei Tse^ teaches that the dragon is a reptile, which obeys 
a call, and allowes itself to be patted and mounted. But under 
its throat it has a protruding scale over a foot long. If a man knocks 
against it, the dragon always kills him. 

lu short, tlie dragon is compared with earthworms and ants, and 
it is further said to be a reptile, which can be patted and mounted. 
It must therefore have something in common with snakes and horses. 

It is reported that when Chou ^ used ivory chopsticks,^ Chi Tse^ 
burst into tears. He wept, commiserating his excesses. There being 
ivory cliopsticks, there must have been jade cups also. These jade 
cups and ivory chopsticks were certainly used to hold and to seize 
dragon liver and unborn leopard.^ Dragon liver was eatable, but 
a dragon hard to be found. This being the case, the emperor would 
frown upon his subordinates. That would bring tliein into distress, 
therefore Chi Tses sympathy. 

If tlie dragon were a spirit, its body could not be killed, and 
its liver not be eaten. The livers and tlie unborn young of birds 
and animals are not the same. Dragon liver and unborn leopard 
being specially mentioned, man must have eaten them, and thereby 
learned to appreciate their excellent taste. 

During tlie epoch of Spring and Autumn,*' a dragon appeared 
in the outskirts of Chiang J Viscount Hsien of Wei^ interrogated 
T'sai Me ■* saying, "I heard say that of all creatures none is as 
intelligent as the dragon, which therefore cannot be caught alive. 
Is it true what they say about its cleverness? " The other replied, 
" Those that say so, really do not know. As a fact, tlie dragon 
is not intelligent. Of old, dragons were domesticated, therefore tlie 
empire liad its families of Dragon Keeper [Huan Luny) and its 
Master of the Dragons [Yu Lung)''^^ 

1 Cf. p. 170. 

2 Chou I hi", the last emperor of tlie Shaiiy dynasty. 

3 Ivory choj)Sticks arc very common in China now, and no luxury. 

4 Viscount (Jhi, one of the foremost nobles under (,h"u H'sin, l*2th cent, b.c, 

5 Dragon liver and unborn leopard would seem to have been considered great 

G The historical period comprised by the ( 7tiin-c/iiu (Spring and Autumn) 
between 722 and 481 b.c. 

7 A principality in Shami, 

8 A feudal lord under Duke (,'K(m of Chin in Sliami, 530 - 524 b.c, whose 
successors became marquises, and at last kings of Wei, 

! 1 The grand historiographer. 

The family names Jiuan Lang and Y'u Lmiff, 《卸 wliicli 

literally mean Dragon Keeper and Master of the Dragons, have probably given rise 
to this queer story. 

On Dragons. 


Viscouut Hden observed that of these two he had heard also, 
but did not know their origin, and why they were called so. Ts ai 
Me said, "In olden time there was Sim Sung ' of Zdao.- One of 
his distant descendants, Tung Fu was very fond of dragons. He 
could find out tlieir tastes and likings, so as to be able to supply 
tliein with food and drink. Many dragons came to liim, and were 
thus bred by liim. With them he waited upon Shun, wlio bestowed 
upon liim the family name of lung, and the clan-name of Dragon 
Keeper [Ilaan Lung), and invested him with Tsung-cli uan. The 
Tmng-J family were liis descendants. Thus dragons were reared 
at the time of the emperor Shun." 

" During tlie Hsia time iCung Chia ^ was obedient to God, 
who presented liim with a team of dragons from the Yellow River 
and the Han, there being a male and a female from each. K' ung 
Chia was at a loss how to feed them, for uo member of the Huan 
Lung family was to be found. But among- tlie remains of the Vao 
T ang * family, which had perished, was one Liu Lei, who had learned 
the art of rearing dragons from the Huan Lung family. With that 
he served K' ung Chia, and was able to give food and water to the 
dragons. The Hsia ruler was so pleased with him, that lie con- 
ferred upou liim the clan-name of Master of the Dragons (Yil Lung). 
He took the place of the descendants of Shih Wei."^ 

" When one female dragon died, lie secretly had it chopped 
up, and offered the meat to tlie ruling- emperor of the house of 
Hsia, as food. The emperor had it cooked, and asked for more. 
Then Liu Lei became frightened, because lie could not procure 
it, and emigrated to Lu-hsien.^ The Fan family were liis des- 
cendants." —— 

Viscount Hsien asked, wliy there were no dragons to-day. 
Tsai Me replied, " Such, animals have their officials, who know tlieir 
treatment, aud think of them day and night. When tliey suddenly 
lose tlieir post, the dragons die. The cashiered functiouaries do 
not feed them any more. As long as the competent officials do 
their duty, there are always animals coining to them, but, wlien 

1 The Liin-Jteng calls the man Shu Sung. In the Tso-chuan his name is 
Shu An. 

2 A small State. 

3 The emperor K'ung Chia 1879-1848 b.c. 

4 T'ao T'ang was the princedom of the emperor Yao in Shan si, whose des- 
cendants took their clan name therefrom. 

A noble who flourished under the Shang dynasty. 
(; The modern Lu-iJian-hsim in Ho'mi'i. 



Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

they are neglected, tliey lie down listless, and their production is 
stopped." 1 ― 

Thus we may say that dragons can be reared and eaten. 
What can be eaten, is certainly not a spirit. When the proper 
officials are not at hand, nor men like Tung Fu and Liu Lei, the 
dragons abscond, and hide themselves, and appear but rarely. When 
tliey once come out, tliey also ride on tlie clouds, a course, mau 
can never take, and are then regarded as spirits. As long as there 
are the proper officials, or the proper men, the dragon is like an 
ox. Why should tliey be spirits ? 

Taking into consideration what the Shan-hai-king says, the 
evidence of Shen Tse and Han Fei Tse, tlie usual pictorial represent- 
ations, the despair of Chi Tse, and the information given by Tsai 
Me, we see that tlie dragon canuot be a spirit, nor rise to Heaven, 
and it is evident tliat Heaven does not fetch it with tliimder aud 

The common belief that the dragon is a spirit, and rises to 
Heaven, is preposterous. But there is a reason for it. In light 
literature we meet with the statement that without a tree one foot 
high tlie dragon cannot ascend to Heaven. They speak of ascending 
to Heaven, and of a tree one foot high, implying that the dragon 
rises to Heaven from within the tree. The authors of this sort of 
literature are uncultured people. Tliey have observed tliat at the 
same time, when the tliunder rolls and the lightning Hashes up, 
the dragon rises, and when thunder and lightning strike a tree, 
the dragon happens to be close to the tree, just like tliunder and 
lightning. When they are gone, the dragon rises on high likewise. 
Therefore they pretend that it ascends to Heaven from within the 
tree. As a matter of fact, the tliunder and the dragon are of tlie 
same Itind, and mutually attract one another, when set in motion 
by the forces of nature. 

The Yiking says that the clouds follow the dragon, and the 
wind the tiger. It is further stated that, wlien tlie tiger howls, 
the wind passes through the valley, and that the variegated clouds 
rise, when the dragon gambols.' Tliere is a certain manner of 
sympathy between the drag-on and the clouds, and a mutual at- 
traction between the tiger and tlie wind. Therefore, wlieu Tung 

1 This conversation between Viscount Hsien and T'nai Me on the rearing of 
dragons in ancient times is literally culled from the Tso-clutan, Duke CJiao 29th year. 
Cf. Legge, Chun-cNiu Pt. II, p. 731. 

2 Yikiny Book I, ChHen liexagram (No. 1). See also p. 279 Note 2. 

On Dragons. 


Chung Shu i offered the rain sacrifice, he put up an earthen dragon 
with a view to attract the rain. 

When the summer is at its height, the sun reigns supreme, 
but the clouds and tlie raiii oppose, it. The sun is fire, clouds and 
rain being water. At the collision with water, fire explodes, and 
gives a sound, which is the thunder. Upon hearing the sound of 
thunder, the dragon rises, wlien it rises, the clouds appear, and 
when they are there, the dragon mounts them. The clouds and 
the rain are affected by tlie dragon, and the dragon also rides on 
the clouds to Heaven. Heaven stretches to the farthest distance, 
and the thunder is very high. Upon the clouds dispersing, the 
dragon alights again. Men seeing it riding on the clouds, believe 
it to ascend to Heaven, and beholding Heaven sending forth thunder 
and lightning, tliey imagine that Heaven fetches the dragon. 

The scholars of to-day reading the Yiking and tlie historical 
records, all know that the dragon belongs to the same class as the 
clouds. Tliey adhere to the common gossip without knowing, what 
it means. Besides they look upon the light literature as an author- 
ity. Thus they say that Heaven fetches the dragon. 

Heaven does not do that, nor does tlie dragon rise to Heaven. 
When Lu Chin Hsin slew the two serpents, lie dragged them out with 
his hands by the tail, but the moment tliey were out of the pool, a thun- 
der-bolt fell. Serpents are a species similar to dragons. When serpents 
or dragons make their appearance, clouds and rain arrive, upon their 
arrival there is thunder and lightning. If Heaven really fetched the dra- 
gon for its own use, what benefit would it have from dead serpents? 

Fish, though \iving in the water, yet follow the clouds and 
the rain Hying, and riding on them ascend to Heaven. Tlie dragon 
belongs to the class of fisli, it rides on thunder aucl lightning in 
the same way as tlie tisli fly. For following the clouds and the 
rain, fish are not considered to be spirits, the dragons alone are 
called spirits because of tlieir riding on tliuuder and lightning. This 
common belief is contrary to truth. 

All the creatures in the world have their peculiar vehicles : 一 
The water serpents ride on the fog, the dragons on the clouds, 
and birds on the wind. To call the dragon alone a spirit, because 
it is seen riding on the clouds. \\'Ould not be in accordance with 
its real nature, and would only detract from its skill. 

But the reason wliy the dragon is looked upon as a spirit is, 
because it can expand and contract its body, and make itself visible 

A scholar of the 2nd cent. b.c. See p. 39. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

or invisible. Yet the expansion and contraction of the body and 
its visibility and invisibility do not constitute a spirit. 

Yii Jang ^ swallowed charcoal and varnislied his body, so that 
he got ulcers, and nobody recognised him. Tse Kung ^ burned off 
his beard, and took the semblance of a woman, so tliat nobody- 
knew liiin. Wlieu the dragon transforms itself and absconds, men 
are also unable to perceive it, such is its skill in metamorphosing 
and hiding itself. 

Much in the nature of creatures is spontaneous : ― The rhino- 
pithecus ^ knows the past,* magpies foresee the future,^ and parrots 
can talk. These three peculiarities may be compared to the trans- 
formations, wliicli are in tlie nature of dragons. If by astuteness 
one could become a spirit, Yil Jang and Tse Kung would be spirits. 

Confucius said, " The roving animals can be ensnared, the flying- 
birds be sliot with an arrow. As regards the dragon, I do not 
know, whether it can ride on the wind and the clouds, and thus 
rise on liigli. To-day I saw Lao Tse. Should he perhaps be like 
a dragon ? 

Provided that the dragon rises, mounted on a cloud, and, 
when tlie cloud disperses, comes down again, then the class of 
creatures, to wliicli it belongs, might be ascertained, and all about 
its celestial and terrestrial state known. Yet they say tliat Confucius 
did not know. A sage like Confucius ignored the nature of dragons. 
How much less can common people know, whose learning is de- 
ficient, wlio are biassed in favour of the marvellous, and whose 
minds are unable to decide, what is possible and what not. Tliat 
they should call the dragon a spirit, which rises to Heaven cau 
therefore be no matter for surprise. 

1 A native of the Chin State, 5th and (1th cent. b.c. He twice made an at- 
tempt upon the life of Viscount Hsiang of Chao to avenge the death of his master, 
the Earl of Chih, whom llsiang had slain. Both attempt's failed. The second time 
he disguised himself in the way described here. 

2 A disciple of Confucius. 

3 A kind of monkey in western China. 

4 This probably means that monkeys have an excellent memory. 

r' Magpies are believed to know, whether the next year will be very stormy, 
for in that case tliey build their nests near the ground. Moreover, they announce 
future joy, lieiice their popular name " birds of joy." 

r' A quotation from the Biography of Lao Tse in the 8hi-chi chap. G3, p. 2 v. 

Arguments on Ominous Creatures. 


Arguments on Ominous Creatures {Chiang-jui). 

The scholars in their essays claim for themselves the faculty 
of knowing- the phoenix and tlie unicorn, when they see them. 
They, of course, rely ou the pictures of tlie phoenix and tlie uui- 
coni. Besides tliere is a passage in the Ch un-ck in concerning the 
capture" of a unicorn to the effect that it was a sort of a deer with 
a horn.i Hence a deer with a horn must be a unicorn. When they 
see a bird like a phoenix, they take it for a plicBuix. 

Huang Ti, Yao, Shun, and the sovereigns of the Chou dynasty, 
when it was flourishing, all caused the phoenix to make its appear- 
ance. Under tlie reign of ILiao Hsiiwi TP a phoenix alighted in 
the Shang-lin park, and afterwards also on a tree at the east- gate 
of the Chang-lo palace. It was five feet liigli, and liacl a beautiful 
variegated plumage. The unicorn caught by the people of Chou 
resembled a deer, and had a horn ; the unicorn of Wxi Ti was also 
like a deer with a liorn. If there be a huge bird with a varie- 
gated plumage, or an animal shaped like a deer having one horn 
on its bead, it is possible, they fancy, to determine, whether it be 
a plioenix or a unicorn, by referring to drawings and pictures, and 
to ancient and modern traditions. 

Now the phoenix is the holy bird, and the unicorn the holy 
animal as the Five Emperors, the Three Rulers, Kao Yao, and Con- 
fucius are the holy ones among men. The Twelve Holy Men 3 vary 
considerably in their appearance, can we then call a deer with a 
horn a unicorn, or a bird resembling a plioenix by this name? Be- 
tween the liair and the colour of the holy birds and the holy 
animals there is as much difference as between the osseous structure 
of the twelve lioly men. 

The horn is like the character " wu " worn on the front. Chuan 
Hsii had this character on his brow, but Yao and Shun were not 
necessarily marked in tlie same wa'y. If the unicorn cauglit in Lu 

1 The last paragraph of the (JKun-ch'iu, Duke Ai 14th year, merely mentions 
the capture of a lin. That it was a deer with one horn is recorded in the " Family 
Sayings " of Confucius. See hegge's traiisl. Vol. II, p. 834, Note. 

2 73-48 B.C. 

3 Cf. p. 304. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

had a horn, it does not follow anyhow that the unicorns observed 
later on had all a horn. Should we be desirous to learn to know 
the unicorn of the present day by using the unicorn caught in Lu 
as a prototype, we may be sure to fail in our endeavour. The 
fur, the bones, and the horn vary. Notwithstanding their difference, 
there may be a certain resemblance, but that does not mean identity. 

Shun had double pupils, and Wang Mang also, Duke Wen of 
Chin had his ribs all in one piece, aud Chang Yi likewise. If a 
resemblance be based on the osseous structure, the hair and the 
complexion, tlien Wang Mang ' was a Shun, and Chang Yi^ a Duke 
Win of Chi"J 

Yu Jo in Lu bore a striking resemblance to Confucius. After 
the death of the latter, his disciples all made Yti Jo sit down and 
questioned him on some points of the doctrine, but Yu Jo could 
not answer. Why? Because there was only a likeness of his ex- 
ternal appearance, whereas Lis mind was different. Thus, variega- 
ted birds and animals with one horn may sometimes look like a 
phoenix or a unicorn, but, as a matter of fact, tliey are not real 
ones. Therefore it is a mistake to distinguish a phoenix or a 
unicorn by their shape, their hair, or their colour. 

In this manner did Yen Yuan * almost equal Confucius, but he 
was not like him, whereas Yu Jo, quite an ordinary type of man, 
looked like a sage. Consequently a real phoenix or a real unicorn 
may perhaps not look like it, in its outward shape and, on the 
other hand, quite common birds and animals resemble the real 
phoenix and unicorn by their hair and colour. How can tliey be 
distinguished ? The literati who maintain that they are able to 
recognise a plicBnix or a unicorn, wlieii tliey see them, must also 
say of themselves that tliey know a holy man, when they per- 
ceive him. 

Kao Yao had a horse mouth, and Confucius' arms were turned 
backwards. If, later on, their wisdom far exceeded that of other 
people, still tliey could not be called sages on account of tlio horse 
mouth or the concave forehead, for as the features of the Twelve 
Holy Men tliirered from those of former sages, they cannot be 
characteristic either for I'utnre sages. The configuration of the 
bones differs, as do their names and their physical frame: and they 

1 The usurper. 

2 A political adventurer, cf. p. 115. 

3 An enlightened sovereign, cf. p. 162. 
* Disciple of ( 'onfudus. 

6 Cf. p. 304. 

Arguments on Ominous Creatures. 


are born in different places. Therefore, how could a sage be 
known, provided that one were born again? 

Hiian Chun Shan ' said to Yang Tse Yiln,'^ "If iti future gener- 
ations there should be again a man like the sages, people would 
be well aware that liis talents surpassed theirs by far, but they 
would not be able to know, whether lie really was a holy man 
or not." Yang Tse Yiin replied, " So it is, indeed." 

It is difficult to know a sage. Even men like H'mn Chiin 
Shan and Yang Tse Yiln^ who could judge tlie excellence and the at- 
tainments of a sage, felt incompetent. The scholars of the age 
represent mediocrity. The knowledge of mediocrity consists in the 
combination of ordinary observations, but we can be sure that, on 
seeing a sage, they would not be in a position to recognise him 
as such. Being- unable to recognise a sage, they could not know 
a phoenix or a unicorn either. Why must people at the present day, 
who are speaking of the phoeuix and the unicorn, pretend that 
they have such a knowledge? 

In former generations people used the words phoenix and uni- 
corn merely upon hearing of the queerness of a bird or an animal. 
If those had a peculiar plumage or horn, and if they did not fly 
at random, or wildly roam about, struggling {"or their food with 
other birds or animals, tliey were called plioenix or unicorn. The 
knowledge which the men of to-day have of the sages is of very 
much the same kind. They have been told that sages are wonder- 
ful men. Therefore, when a man's body slicnvs some peculiarity 
of tlie bones, and his wisdom is profound and extensive, they call 
him a sage. Those avIio really know what a sage means, do not 
give that name at first sight, and when they have heard a man 
for the first time. They first bow to liim, hear his lectures, and 
receive his instruction, and afterwards learn to know him. This 
will become more clear from tlie following facts. 

When Tse Kung had served Confucius one year, lie thought 
himself to be superior to Confucius, after two years lie thought 
himself to be his equal, but after three years he had learned that 
he could never come up to him. During the space of one and 
two years, lie did not yet know that Confucius was a sage, and it 
was not until three years had elapsed, that he became aware of 
it. If Tse Kung required three years to find this out, our scholars 

1 Huan Tan = Hi(a" Chun Shan lived in the 1st cent. b.c. and a.d. He 
was a man of wide learning. Of his works the " Esin-lun " " New Reflections " 
have been preserved. 

2 The Confucian philosopher, cf. p. 391. 


Lun-Heng: C. Physical. 

must be in error, when they imagine they know a sage, for they are 
less gifted than Tse Kung, they see a sage, but do not study under 
him, nor have tliey three years intercourse with him, a sudden 
glance is all tliey rely upon. 

In Lu, Sliao Cheng Mao i was placed on a level with Confucius. 
The school of Confucius was three times full, and three times empty. 
Only Yen Yuan did not leave 】iim. Yen Yuan alone knew that Con- 
fucius was a sage. The other pupils abandoned Confucius^ and re- 
turned to Shew Cheng Mao. Not only did they not understand the 
sagehood of Confucius, but they did not even know Shao Cheng Mao. 
The disciples were all imposed upon, so that Tse Kung asked Con- 
fucius saging, '.' Shao Cheng Mao is a famous man in /''/, how can 
you know more about government than he? " Confucius replied, 
" Tse Kung ! You had better leave this, for you are not up to it." 

Only the intelligent can distinguisli the artificial. Since a man 
like Tse Kung was unable to know a sage, it is nonsense, if our 
scholars claim to know a sage upon seeing him. From their in- 
ability to know a sage we may infer that they do not know a 
phoenix or a unicorn either. 

Let us suppose that a phoenix has long and broad feathers, 
and that tlie body of a unicorn is liigli and big. Then the be- 
holder would regard them as a big bird or a huge animal, but by 
what should he distinguish them? If their big size were to be 
taken as a criterion, then one ought to know a sage by his size 
also. During the " Spring and Autumn " Period there arrived a bird 
and remained, but it could not be considered a phciMiix, and, when 
the tall TP made their appearance, they could not be taken for 
sages either. The phoenix and tlie unicorn being like other birds 
or animals, what can people do to know tliem? 

Should these creatures not live in China and come across the 
desert, tlicy would be like tlie " inainah,"^ wliicli is not a Chinese 
bird; nor would the phoenix and the uiiicoru be Chinese ani- 
mals til en. Wliy then do the Literati dvcvy the " iiiainali," and 
applaud the plioniix and the unicorn, if none of them is of Chi- 
nese origin? 

1 Shao Cheng Mao, a high officer of Lu, was later on executed by Confucius 
for high treason, when Cotifncin/f was assistant-niinister {Shi-chi cliap. 47, p. v.). 
Some say that Sliao-cht'iuf is the official title and Mao the cogiiomcii. Shao-chcnj/ 
might mean a subdirector. or an assistant-judge. (Cf. llnai Nan Tse XIII, 22 comm.) 
See also Chavanncs、 Mrm. Hist. Vol. V, p. 326, Note 7. 

2 Cf. Chap. XXXIX. 

3 Acridotheres cristatellus. 

Arguments on Ominous Creatures. 


Some one may say that, when at the time of Hsiao Hsiinn Ti 
a pliccnix alighted in the Shang-lbi park, ' flocks of birds crowded 
around it on the trees, thousands and ten thousands. They rever- 
ently followed the [)li(cnix, because it surpassed all the other l)irds 
by its size as well as by the holiness of its spirit. Provided that 
a large bird arouud which, wlien it alights, all the multitudes of 
birds gather, is a phoenix, then we would know what a phoenix 
really is. Now tlie phoenix lias the same character as the unicorn. 
If, when a phoenix appears, all the birds follow it, then all the 
animals ought to accompany the unicorn, wlieu it shows itself, 
likewise. But iu rogard to the unicorn of the "Spring and Autumn " 
no mention is made of all the animals following it. Hsilan Ti and 
Wu Ti both got a unicorn, but nothing is said about animals ac- 
companying it. 

Should anybody be of opinion that the train of the unicorn 
disperses, when it is caught by man, whereas the plioenix is never 
caught, and that the birds following it become visible, when it is 
flying about, I refer to the Slnikwg. There 、ve read that, when 
the nine parts of the imperial music were performed, the male and 
female phoenix came gambolling.^ The Ta-clman ^ speaks of a phoenix 
ou the trees, but does not mention that flocks of birds were following 
it. Was the phoenix attracted by Hsilan Ti of another kind perhaps? 

One might suggest that this is an omission ou the part of 
the chronicler, that under Yiis reign the plioenix was really ac- 
companied by other birds, tliat the time of remote antiquity is so 
far away, that the chroniclers might well have omitted to mention 
it, and that tlie text of the Classics cannot be a proof. Of course, 
it may happen that something has really taken place, wliicli the 
historians have dropped, but, in tlie same way, it can be the case 
til at something really never happened, and was invented by the 
historians. Therefore it is difficult to find out the truth from the 
text of the works of the Literati, and our attempts to know a 
plioenix from its following are in vain. 

Moreover, there are cunning fellows among men, who succeed 
in winning followers, as there are wily birds, which assemble others 
around themselves. Was tlie plioenix of the time of Yii honest 
then, and that of Hsilan Ti's time a trickster? How is it possible 
that they were both endowed witli the virtue of holy men, and 
that still their actions should be so dissimilar? 

1 Yid. p. 359. 

2 Shaking, Yi-cM Pt. H, Bk. IV, 9 {Legcje Vol. HI, Pt. I, p. 88). 

3 ~hc \M- • This must be the name of an ancient work. 


Lun-Hpiig: C. Physical. 

A bird may perhaps be a phoenix, although there are no 
birds following it, or it may not be a plioenix, notwithstanding the 
great number of birds Hocking around it. The superior man leads 
a pure life. He preserves liis integrity, and does not care to have 
many adherents. In liis doings and dealings 】ie lias not many 
followers. A cunning intriguer, on the other hand, uses all liis energy, 
and bustles about so much, that tlie scholars gather around him 
like clouds. The phoenix is like the superior man. If the number 
of followers were to decide, whether a bird is a phoenix or not, 
then a cunning impostor ought to be considered a superior man. 

The more refined a song is, the fewer are the persons who 
can sing to the tune, and the more disinterested one's actions are, 
the fewer are one's sympathisers. The same holds good for birds and 
animals. To find out a phoenix by the number of its followers would 
be like calling a song a good one, because it can be sung by many. 

The dragon belongs to a similar class of animals as the 
phoenix. Under the reign of llsilan TP a yellow dragon came out 
at Hsin-feng,^ but the snakes did not accompany it. The " spirit 
bird" and the "luau" take a prominent place among the common 
birds. Although their goodness and their holiness be not as devel- 
oped as that of the phoenix, still they ought to have a suite of 
at least some ten birds. 

Hsin Ling and Meng CK ang^ entertained three thousand guests, 
and were called wise and superior men. The Han general Wei 
C/i mg^ and the general Ho C/t u Ping ^ had not a single guest in 
their houses, famous generals though they were. The Grand An- 
nalist notes that robber Che, in spite of all his misdeeds, had several 
thousand partisans, whereas Po Yi aud Shu CJii^ lived in conceal- 
ment on Mount Shao-yang. 

The actions of birds and animals are like those of man. A 
man may win tlie crowd, but that is not sufficieiit to characterize 
him as a wise man. Thus the fact that other birds follow it, is 
not a sufficient testimony for a phoenix either. 

Some say that the phoenix and tlic unicorn are omens of uni- 
versal peace, and that at a time of universal peace one sees tlicm 

1 73-48 B.C. 

2 A locality in ISlienM province. 

3 The princes of Hmi lAng and of Mmg (Jh'any, cf. chap. XL. 
* Vid. p. 308. 

5 A celebrated commander, who gained many brilliant victories over the 
Hftiung-nu. Died 117 b.c. 

Cf. p. 168. 

Arguments on Ominous Creatures. 


arrive. However, they also appear, when there is not universal 
peace. By their quaint plumage and extraordinary bones they 
distinguish themselves from the ordinary birds and animals, and 
can be known. Provided tliat the plioenix and the unicorn usually 
arrive at a time of general peace, then the unicorn of the Spring 
and Autumn period must have disliked to appear during the reign 
of Confucius. When the Emperor Kuang Wu 7V' was born in the 
Chi-yattg palace, a plioenix came down. Kuang Wu Ti!s birth fell in 
the time of Cheng TP and Ai by no means a time of universal 
peace, nevertheless the phoenix made its appearance. If it did so, 
because it knew Kuang Wu Ti's wisdom and virtue, then it was an 
omen of the birth of a holy emperor, but not a sign of universal 
peace. Lucky omens may correspond to universal peace or happen 
to mark a special birth. It is difficult to find out the real cause. 
Therefore it would not be proper to think of a period of universal 
peace only. 

Some say tliat the phoenix and the unicorn are bom as 
members of a certain species of animals, just as the tortoise and 
the dragon belong to a certain species. For this reason a tortoise 
will always beget a tortoise, and a dragon will always beget a 
dragon. In shape, colour, and size the offspring does not differ 
mucli from tlie progenitors. Why should it not be possible for 
us to know these animals, seeing the father and beholding the sou 
and the grand-son ? 

For the following reason. Common creatures have their species, 
but ominous creatures have not ; they are born by accident. There- 
fore tliey say tliat the tortoise and the dragon are endowed with 
virtue. How can people distinguish a spiritual tortoise or a divine 
dragon, when tliey perceive them? 

At the time of King Yuan of Sung * fishermen caught a spiritual 
tortoise in their nets, but they did not know that it was a spirit. 
The scholars of our days are like those fishermen. Since the 
fishermen did not know a spiritual tortoise, we may be sure that 
the people of to-day do not know a divine dragon either. 

Sometimes a dragon is like a snake, and sometimes a snake 
resembles a dragon. Han Fei Tse remarks that a horse resembling 
a stag is worth one thousand chin . An excellent horse resembles 
a stag, and a spiritual dragon sometimes looks like a snake. It" 

1 25-58 A.D. 

2 32-6 B.C. 

3 6 B.C.-l A.D. 

4 530-515 B.C. 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

those creatures really belonged to a certain species, there would 
be no discrepancy iu shape or colour. 

During the time of Wan(^ Many ' there was an enormous bird, 
as big as a horse, with variegated plumage adorned with dragon 
like ornaments, which, together with several ten other birds, alighted 
in CKi-hsien in the State of P' ei} The plioeuix, which during- the 
time of Hsilan Li sat down on the ground, was 5 feet high, which 
would correspond to the size of a horse afore-mentioned. Its 
plumage was multicoloured, which would be like the variegated 
colour with dragon ornaments, and the several tens of birds would 
be like the flocks of birds all alighting at the same time. If at 
Hsiian Tis time it was a phoenix in shape and colour, accompanied 
by all the other birds, liow do we know that it was one? Pro- 
vided it was, then the bird attracted by Wang Many was a phoenix 
likewise. Tliat being the case, it cannot have been an omen, since 
Wang Mang caused its ap])earance, and if it was not a phoenix, 
how is it that in shape and colour and, as regards the following-, 
it was exactly like it? 

All ominous things originate from a propitious fluid. Born 
in an ordinary species, they have their peculiar character, and 
therefore become omens. Thus the arrival of a phoenix is 
like the appearance of the " red crow." ^ If the plioenix is said 
to belong' to a species, is there a distinct species of " red crows " 

As regards tlie auspicious grain, the wine springs, and the 
sweet dew, the auspicious grain grows amidst other grain, but it 
lias its peculiar spikelets, wherefore it is called auspicious grain. 
The wine springs and the sweet dew flow fortli sweet and nice. 
They come from sources and dew, but there is not a special kind 
oi' sweet dew in lieaven, or a certain class of wine springs on 
earth. During the just reign of a wise ruler the sweet dew falls 
clown, and the wine comes up. 

The " felicitous plant and the " vermilion grass " also grow 
ou earth along with other plants, but tliey do not always sprout 
from the same root. They come forth for a certain time, and after 
ten days or a jnontli tliey wither and (a 1 1 oil". Hence tliey are 

1 9 B.C.- 23 A.D. 

2 In modern Anhui. 

:( A propitious bird whi (; li appeared to Wu Wang, cf. p. 130. 

4 The felicitous plant, " minrj chia " , was found in the court-yard ol" 

tlie emperor Yau. With the waxing moon it grew oik; new leaf every day, with 
the wailing inuon one Icuf dropped every clay. 

Arguments oti Ominous Creatures. 


considered as omens. The phoenix and the unicorn are omens as 
well. Why should they form a distinct species ? 

When there was perfect peace under tlie Chou dynasty, the 
people of Yueh-cli ang ' brought white pheasants as a present. These 
white pheasants were short-lived and of white colour, but there 
was uot a special class of white pheasants. When the people of 
Lu caught a deer witli one horn, and called it a unicorn, it des- 
cended perhaps from a deer, and there was no species of unicorns. 

Accordingly the phoenix is perhaps also born from a snow- 
goose or a magpie, but differing so mucli from the majority of 
birds by its quaint plumage and peculiar feathers, it is given the 
name phoenix. Wlierefore must it belong to quite another class 
tlian the other birds? 

Yu Jo - said, "The position the unicorn takes among quadrupeds, 
the phoenix takes among flying birds, Mount T\d among hills, and 
tlie Yellow River and the Ocean among water-courses." Consequently 
the phoenix and the unicorn are to be classed together with bi'rds 
and animals, only their shape and colour is exceptional. They 
cannot constitute a separate class. Belonging to the same category, 
tliey have their anomalies, by these anomalies tliey fall out of the 
common run, and owing to this irregularity the distinction becomes 

Yao begot Tan Chu, and Shun, Shang Ckiln. Sit ang Chi'm and 
Tan Chu belonged to the same species as Yao and Shun, but in body 
and mind they were abnormal. Kirn begot Yil, and Ku Sou, Shun. 
Shun and Yii were of the same class as Kun and Kit Sou, but dif- 
fered from tliem in wisdom autl virtue. If w e try to sow the seed 
of auspicious grain, we cannot reap auspicious grain thereby, but 
we may frequently find millet with abnormal stalks or ears. People 
beholding Shu Liang Ho could not know that lie was tlie father of 
Confucius, nor could they see in Po Yii the sou of Confucius. The 
father of Chang T ang^ was 5 feet high, Chang T ang himself 8, and 
his grand-son 6. The phoenix of Hsiao Hsiian Ti measured 5 feet. 
The bird from which it was born perhaps measured but 2 feet, 
aud the own offspring of tlie phoenix only 1 foot, for why should 
a species be quite stereotype? Since classes aud species are not 
stereotype, Tseng Hsi had a son, Tseng Shen,^ wliose character was 

1 *^ ■ lu chap. XL we read Yiieh-shang , which were a people 
near the Auuainese frontier. 

2 See above p. 360. 

3 Chang T'ang lived at the beginning of the 1st cent. a.d. Vid. chap. XXXV 111. 
* Tseriij Txr, the well known disciple of ('onj'uciiis, cl". p. 104. 


Lun - Heng : C. Physical. 

unique, and Yen Lu was father to Yen Hui, who outshone every 
one in ancient and modern times. A thousand Li horse must not 
be tlie colt of a unicorn, and a bird may be benevolent and wise 
without being the fledgeling of a phoenix. 

The brooks on the mountain tops are not conuected with 
rivers and lakes, still they are full of fisli. The generative power 
of the water has produced them independently. On the terraces 
of ruined palaces and crumbling halls grows grass, sent forth by 
the force of the soil of itself. The fish in the brooks and the 
grass on the terraces of tlie halls have no progenitors of their own 
species. In the same manner an omen corresponding to something 
happens spontaneously, there is not a special class for it in the 

An omen corresponds in the same way, as a calamitous event 
supervenes. The omen corresponds to something good, a calamity 
to something bad. Good and bad are opposites, it is true, but 
the corresponding is the same. As a calamitous revolution does 
not belong to a class, an omen corresponding to something has 
no species. The fluids of the Yin and the Yang are the fluids of 
Heaven and Earth. Falling in with something good, tliey harmonize 
with it, and meeting something bad, they suddenly turn. Do Heaven 
and Earth in addition to tlie government which they exercise over 
good and evil still produce a harmonious and a suddenly cliangiug 
fluid ? By no means : ― wlien an omen corresponds to something, 
it is not of a certain class or category, but it comes forth along 
with something good, and grows from the liarmony of the fluids. 

Sometimes during a peaceful administration and, while tlie 
fluids arc in liarmony, various creatures undergo a metamorphosis. 
In spring e. g. the eagle changes into a pigeon, and in autumn tlie 
pigeon becomes an eagle. Snakes, mice, and tlie like are trans- 
lormed into fish and turtles, frogs into quails, sparrows into clams. ' 
These creatures change in accordance with their fluids. Their 
existence cannot be denied. Huang S/iih - became an old man, pre- 
sented Chang Liang with a book, and then became a stone again. 
The Literati know this. Perhaps at the time of universal peace, 
when all the fluids are in liarmony, a deer might be transmuted 
into a unicorn, and a snow-goose into a plicrnix. In this Avay the 
nature of animals would be cliaiiged at times, but there would not 
be a stereotype species. 

1 Cf. p. 336 Note 2. 

2 I. e. " Yellow Stone/ 

Arguments on Ominous Creatures. 


Poo Ssgi was the daughter of a black lizard , and born from 
the saliva of two snakes.- Two ministers of Chin were the progeny 
of a brown and a spotted bear. The stories about the eating 
of the swallow's egg/ and the pearl-barley, and the walking upon 
ail enormous foot-print^ are likewise accepted by the people of 
to-day, wliy then shall the omens belong to a stereotype species? 
If ^ve consider tlie question from the point of view that creatures 
have not a well-defined species, nor men a separate class, and that 
a body can be metamorpliosized, then the phoenix and tlie unicorn 
arc not born from an unchangeable species. But wherefore must 
they be alike tlien in shape and colour? 

We read in the chapter on omens in the LikP that the male 
phoenix is called " Feng " and tlie female "Huang," and that the 
male siugs " cM, chi," and the female " tsu, tsu." s In the Shi- 
kiiKj we find the following verses : ― "The oil tree is growing on 
yondor liigli hill, «.nd the male and female plicenix is singing there 
ill tlie iiioruiug suu-sliine. Luxuriant and flourishing is tlie tree, 
yang. yimg, chieh, chieh" sing the phoenixes." ― The chapter on omeus 
as well as the Shiking describe the singing of the phoenix, the 
one as " chi chi, tsu tsu," the other as " yung^ yung , chiek, chieh." 
These sounds differ. Provided that they are really like this, then 
the shape of the birds camiot be the same, and if it is, then there 
is a discrepancy between the Shiking and the Liki. Consequently 
the common traditions about the singing of the plioenix are 

Of the unicorn caught in Lu it is said that it was a deer 
with a liorn, that means that its colour was like that of a deer. 
The colour of a deer is invariable, as the colour of birds is. At 
the time of Wu Wang a stream of light appeared in tlie form of 
a crow. Its colour is said to have been red. Red not being the 
colour of crows, it is expressly stated that tlie colour was red. 

1 The favourite consort of the Emperor Yii Wang, 781-771 b.c. 

2 On this legend, see p. 321. 

3 Fan Wen Tse and CNung Hang Chao Tse, cf. p. 225. 

4 The mother of Hsieh, the ancestor of the Yin dynasty swallowed an egg 
dropped by ; i swallow, and thereupon conceived. Cf. p. 318. 

5 The mother of Great Yd is said to have conceived after having eaten 
pearl-barley. See p. 318. 

c VicL p. 318. 

7 There is no chapter on omens, " Jid-iidng," in the Liki now. 

8 A similar passage occurs in the Han-shih-wai-chuan ( T 'ai-p'in g-yu- Ian) 2nd 
cent. B.C. 

9 Shikiriff Pt. in, Bk. U, Ode VIU {Legge Vol. IV, Pt. II, p. 494). 

Liin - Heng. 24 


Luu-Heng: C. Physical. 

If the unicorn resembled a deer, but had a diflferent colour, it would 
certainly have been added that its colour 、vas white or black. Now 
the colour was the usual one, therefore tliey merely say that it 
was a deer. A deer is liornless.^ Since tlie deer in question was 
diflerent from tlie ordinary ones in this respect, it is said that it 
had a lioru. lu this maimer the unicorn caught in Lu was shaped 
like a deer. 

During the time of Wu Ti a liunting party in the west caught 
a white unicorn with one lioru and five feet. The liorn was then 
as in other cases, but the reference to the five feet shows that it 
had not the same number of legs. The uuicoru found in Lu is 
described as a deer. The colour not being mentioned, it must 
have been a deer of no unusual colour. Wu Ti is reported to have 
got a white unicorn. White colour does not agree with a unicorn. 
The statement tliat a unicorn is a deer, means therefore tliat it is 
an ordinary one, whereas the allegation that it is a white unicorn, 
shows that its colour is unusual. 

Under the reign of Hsiao Hsilan Ti the Chiu-chen ^ sent as a 
tribute a unicorn shaped like a deer, but with two liorns. It thus 
differed from the unicorn of Hsiao Wu Ti, to which one liorn is 
ascribed. During the Spring and Autumn Period the unicorn was 
like a deer, tliat of the emperor Hsilan Ti is described as resembling 
a stag. A stag is double tlie size of a deer, and differently shaped. 
The unicorns wliicli appeared under the reigns of those three 
emperors vary very much, as regards the colour of their hair, the 
horn, tlie feet, and the size of the body. If we infer the future 
from these instances, it is quite evident that the unicorns eventually 
appearing at the present time will not be like those of former 
generations. lu tliis respect the unicorn is like tlie phcenix. The 
unicorus varied at din'crent periods in shape ami colour. If we 
were to start from the plioeuix seen at the time of Hsilan J'i, measur- 
ing five feet and being multicoloured, and to foretell the future from 
the past, it would be a mistake to niaiiltain tliat a phoenix 
appearing later oii must be like that one. There can be no doubt 
that phoenixes and unicouis, which will appear later on, will not 
resemble those observed formerly. How can the scholars assert 
that on seeing tliein tliey would know tliein? 

W lie 11 the people ol" Lu caught the unicorn, they dared not 
straightway call it a unicorn, but said that it was a horned deer. 

China possesses several varieties of hornless deer. 
A tribe in Annum. 

Arguments on Ominous Creatures. 


At that time in fact they did not know it, Wu Ti called upon the 
censor Chung Chi'm to give his opinion .about the unicorn. Clmng 
C/tiin replied tliat it was a wild animal with joined horns, showing 
that, the whole empire had grown from the some root. He did 
not at once style it a unicorn, but declared it to be a wild animal. 
Chung Chun had liis doubts as well, and did not know it. The 
knowledge of the scholars of our age does not exceed that of the 
[)Cople of Lu or of Chung CI din. Should they see a plioenix or a 
unicorn, they would certainly have the same doubts as the latter. 

How is it possible to find out a phoenix and a unicorn among 
uncommon birds and animals? If shape and colour be taken as a 
criterion, they are not always alike. If there be a big train of 
birds and animals following them, this is not always a proof of 
tlieir excellence. If their rarity be regarded as a characteristic, 
there is the " iiiaiuah ,, also, and if importance be attached to 
peculiarities, then sages as well as wise men have strange physical 
features. Both sages aud wise men are abnormal, and there is no 
means to distinguish between them. 

Taking wisdom and sageness as a starting point, we find that 
sage birds and sage animals do not possess more peculiarities than 
ordinary birds or common animals. The wisdom of sage or 、vise 
men may be quite extraordinary, whereas their bones show uo 
anomaly. Thus sage and wise birds and animals can be endowed 
with benevolence, honesty, unselfishness, and purity, though there 
be nothing remarkable in their physical constitution. Sometimes 
there are rich and noble persons who have not tlie body of a sage, 
and the osseous structure of many points to wealth and honour, 
who do not prove to be sage or wise. Accordingly some birds 
are multicolour, aud some animals have a liorn, but are devoid of 
benevolence or sageness. How do we know tliea but that the 
phoenixes and unicorns, seen in olden days, were common birds or 
animals, aud the magpies and deer seen at present are phoenixes 
and unicorns? The present holy age is the result of the reforms 
emanating from Yao and Shun, why should no benevolent or wise 
creatures be born? 

It may happen that plioenixes and unicorns are mixed with 
snow-geese, magpies, deer or stags, so that our people cannot 
distinguish them. When precious jade was hidden in a stone, the 
governor of the king of Cli u did not know it, which distressed 
the owner so much, that lie wept tears of blood. 丄 Perhaps now- 

1 Cf. p. 113. 

* 24* 


Lun -Heng: C. Physical. 

a-days the phoenixes and unicorns also hide tlieir benevolent and 
wise heart under a common plumage and ordinary fur, and have 
neither a single horu nor five colours as a distinctive mark, so that 
our people know them no more, than the jade in the stone was 
known. How can we prove that ? By a reference to the plants, 
which at tlie commencement of the Yung-p ing period^ were always 
presenting omens. When the emperor Hsiao Ming Ti was mani- 
festing his kindness, all sorts of omens happened at the same time. 
At the Yaan-lio and Chang-lio epochs,- wlieu Hsiao Chang TVs virtue 
was shining, perfect harmony pervaded the world, and auspicious 
omens and strange things corresponded. Phoenixes and unicorns 
came forth one after the other, and were observed on many 
occasions, much more than at the time of the Five Emperors. This 
chapter was already completed, therefore I could not mention 
it tlien.3 

It might be objected that arguing on omens, I have declared 
til at the phoenix and tlie unicoru are liarcl to know, and that the 
omens of our age cannot be distinguished, whether, therefore, the 
phoenixes and the unicorns attracted now by Hsiao Chang Ti could 
not be known? ― I say that according to the "Records on the Five 
Birds "4 there are big birds in tlie four regions and the centre 
whicli, when tliey roam about, are accompanied by all the other 
birds. In size, and the colour of the plumage they resemble a 
phoenix, but are difficult to know indeed. 

Since the omens of our age do not allow of distinction, how 
can we find them out? By the government of the empire. Unless 
the virtue of the reigning emperor equalled that of Yi" we would 
not perceive phoenixes and unicorns with our own eyes. The 
omens of Yii were undoubtedly genuine, and Yao's excellence is 
evident. Under lidao Hsiian Ti the world enjoyed a still more 
universal peace than at the time of Yao and Slmn, as far as ten 

1 Style of the reign of the Emperor Ming Ti, 58-76 a,d. 

2 Styles of the Emperor Chmg 27, 84-87 and 87-89. 

3 This chapter must have been written prior to 84 a.d., so that the auspicious 
reign of the Emperor Chang Ti could not yet be referred to. The author made 
this addition later i, e. ai'ter 89, for it was not before this year that the emperor 
received his posthumous title Hsiao (J ha)"; Ti. 

4 By the Five Birds perhaps the Five Phd'iiixes " Wu F<h,ff," five diircrent 
kinds of plui'iiixes, which differ by their colours, are iiicaiit. The " Feng " is red, 
the " Yuan clui *' yellow, the " Luan" blue, the " Yii tm" purple, and the " Ku 
white. Whereas " Fauj " and " Lua" " are still used as names for the phoenix, 
one under.stands by " J W;? chti " a kind of peacock or pheasant, by " Yu-tsu " a 
kind of duck, and by " Ku " the snow-goose or swan. 

Arguments on Ominous Creatures. 


thousand Li, people were anxious for reforms and progress, and 
the moral laws found an echo everywhere. Affected by this state 
of things, the benevolent birds and animals made their appearence, 
only the size, tlie colour of the hair, the feet and tlie wings of 
those auspicious creatures were not always the same. Taking the 
mode of government and the intelligence of the rulers as a criterion 
for tlie various omens, we find them all to be genuine. That 
means that they are hard to know, but easy to understand. 

The sweet dew may also serve us as a key. The sweet dew 
is produced by the harmonious fluid, it lias no cause in itself 
wliicli could make it sweet ; this can only be done by the inter- 
vention of the harmonious fluid. When the harmonious fluid 
appears, the sweet dew pours down, virtue permeates everything, 
and the various omens come forth together. From the Yung-p ing 
down to the Chang-ho period tlie sweet dew has continually been 
falling. Hence we know that the omens are all true, and tliat 
plioeuixes and unicorns are likewise all genuine. 


Lun-Heng: D. Ethical. 

The Forming of Characters (Shuai-hsing). 

Speaking of human nature one must distinguish good and bad 
characters. The good ones are so of themselves, the wicked can 
be instructed and urged on to do good. A sovereign or a father 
seeing that his subjects or sons have good characters, provides lor 
them, exhorts them, and keeps them out of tlie reach of evil. If 
the latter come into contact with it, they assist and shield tbein, 
and try to win tliem back to the cause of virtue. It is by the 
transition of virtue into wickedness and of Vvickedness into virtue 
that the characters are formed. 

The duke of Shao admonished Kiug Cheng saying : ― " Now you 
for the first time carry out Heaven's decree. Oli ! you are like a 
youth with whom all depends on his first years of life." i 

By youtli is meant the age up to fifteen. If a youth's thoughts 
are directed towards virtue, he will be virtuous to the last, but if 
his propensities tend to badness, he will end badly. 

The Sinking says " What can that admirable man be compared 
to? "2 The Tso-chuan answers, "He is like boiled silk; dyed with 
indigo, it becomes blue; coloured with vermilion, it turns crimson." 
A youtli of fifteen is like silk, his gradual changes into good or 
bad resembling the dyiug of boiled silk with indigo and vermilion, 
which gives it a blue or a red colour. When these colours have 
once set, they cannot be altered again. It is for this reason 
that Yang Tse^ wept over tlie by-roads and Me T.^-e * over boiled 

1 Shuking, The Announcement of Shao V, Bk. XII, 18-19. Wavg CKunt) reads 
於戲 "alas!'" instead of 鳴呼. > ' ^ . 

2 Shiking I, Bk. IV, Ode IX, 2 where we read now -joj* " what 
can he give?" instead of ^il " what can lie he compared to?" 

3 Ya"ff f〕hu, the philosopher of egoism. Tlie story referred to here is told 
in Ldeh Tse VIII, 10 v. A sheep had been lost on by-roads. When Yang Chu Iieard 
of it, he became thoughtful and changed countenance. No mention is made of his 
having wept. Wang ( Itumj seems to have quoted fro 川 Iluai Nan Tso XVII, 25 v, 
who expressly mentions Ya"ff Tses weeping. 

4 Mc Ti、 the philosopher of altruism. We read in his works:— A/'/ Tse 
chap. 3, p. 4 (What colours) and In the Lu-shih-cliun-iliiu chap. 2, No. 4, p. 8 (Colour- 
ing) that Me Tse witnessing the dying of silk said, heavmg a slyh, " Dyed blue, it 
turns blue, and dyed yellow, it turns yellow •, and then he goes on to explain, how 

The Forming of Characters. 


silk. They were sorrowful, because men having gone astray from 
the right path cannot be transformed any more. Human nature 
turns from good into bad, and from bad into good only in tin's 
manner. Creepers growing amidst hemp, stand upright without 
support by themselves. White silk yarn placed amongst dark, 
becomes black without boiling. Creepers are not straight by na- 
ture, nor is the black colour an attribute of silk yarn. The hemp 
affording support, and the dark silk lending the colour, creepers 
and wliite silk become straight and black. Human nature bears a 
resemblance to creepers and silk yarn. In a milieu favourable to 
transformation or colouring, it turns good or bad. 

Wang Liang and Tsao Fu were famous as charioteers: ― out of 
unruly and vicious animals they made good ones. Had they only- 
been able to drive good horses, but incapable of breaking bad ones, 
tliey would have been nothing more than jockeys and ordinary 
equerries. Tlieir horsemanship would not have been remarkable 
nor deserving of world-wide fame. Of Wang Liang the saying goes 
that, A\ hen lie stepped into a chariot, the steeds kne"- no exhaustion. 

Under the rule of Yao and Shun people were neither seditious 
nor iguoraut. Tradition says that the people of Yao and Slum 
might have beeu invested with fiefs house by house, i whereas those 
of Chieh Kue;; were worthy of death door by door. The people 
followed the way prescribed by the three dynasties. That the 
people of the holy emperors were like this, those of the wicked 
emperors otherwise, was merely tlie result of the influence of their 
rulers, not of tlie people's original nature. 

The covetous hearing of Po YVs^ fame became disinterested, 
aud tlie weak resolute. The news of Liu Hda Hui,s'、 reputation 
made the niggardly generous and tlie mean liberal. If the spread 
of fame alone could bring about such changes, what then must be 
the effect of personal intercourse and tuition ? 

The seventy disciples of the school of Confucius were each of 
them able to creditably fill the post of a minister of state. Con- 
man also takes the colour of his environments, especially of those with whom he has 
intercourse, wherefore " colouring •• is a very serious affair. Nothing is said about 
his having shed tears. 

1 So excellent were they all. 

2 The last emperor of the Hsia dynasty, the type of a tyrant. 

3 Fo 】—2' and Shu C'h'i, two brothers famous for their disinterestedness in re- 
fusing to ascend the throne of their father, lest the other should be deprived of it. 
Mayers No. 543. 

4 All official of the State of Lu famous for honesty and upright character, 
often ineiitioned by Confucius . 


Lun-Heng: D. Ethical. 

forming to the holy doctrines, they became accomplished scholars, 
and their knowledge and skill grew tenfold. This was the result 
of teaching ; thus latent faculties were gradually developed. Before 
they joined Confucius' school, they sauntered about in the streets as 
quite ordinary and in no wise exceptional people. The most un- 
governable of all was Tse Lu, who is generally reported to have 
been a common and unsteady individual. Before lie became Confuc'ms 
pupil, he wore a feather hat and a pig skin belt. He was brutal 
and unmannerly. Whenever he heard some reading, he tossed up 
liis feather hat, pulled liis belt, and uttered sucli a yell, that lie 
deafened the ears of the worthies and sages. Such was his wicked- 
ness. Confucius took him under his guidance. By degrees he pol- 
ished and instructed him. The more he advanced in knowledge, 
the more lie lost liis fierceness, and his arrogance was broken. At 
last he was able to govern a state, and ranked in the four classes, i 
This is a shining example of how a man's character was changed 
from bad into good. 

Fertility and sterility are the original nature of the soil. If 
it be rich and moist, the nature is good, and the crops will be 
exuberant, whereas, if it be barren and stony, the nature is bad. 
However, human efforts: ― deep ploughing, thorough tilling, and a 
copious use of manure may help the land, so that the harvest will 
become like that of the rich and well watered fields. Such is the 
case with the elevation of the land also. Fill up the low ground 
with earth, dug out by means of hoes and spades, and the lo、v 
】and will be on a level with the high one. If these works are still 
continued, not only will the low land be on a 】evel, but even higher 
than the high land. The high ground will then become the low 
one. Let us suppose that the human natures are partly good, 
partly bad; as the land may be either liigli or low. By making 
use of the good e fleets of education goodness can be spread and 
generalized. Reformation being pushed on and instruction perse- 
vered in, people will change and become still better. Goodness will 
increase and reach a still higher standard than it had before, just 
as low ground, filled up with hoes and spades, rises higher than 
the originally elevated ground. 

T se"^ though not predestinated thereto, made a fortune. His 
capital increased without a decree from Heaven which would have 

1 The four classes, into which the ten principal followers of Confucius were 
divided. Cf. Analects XI, 2. 

2 A disciple of ('onfudax, whose full name was T "an Mu T'se alias Y'.sy Kitng, 
possessed of great abilities. He became a liigh official. 

The Forming of Characters. 377 

him rich. The accumulation of wealth is due to the cleverness of 
the rich men of the time in making a fortune. Through this ability 
of theirs they are themselves the authors of their growing wealth 
without a special decree from Heaven. Similarly, he who lias a 
wicked nature changes liis will and his doings, if lie happens to 
be taught by a Sage, although lie was not endowed witli a good 
character by Heaven. 

One speaks of good swords for which a thousand chin ^ are 
paid, such as the Yil-cli ang'^ sword of T'aiig-clii^ and the T ai-a 
sword 4 of Lung-cli iian.^ Their blade is originally nothing more than 
a common piece of iron from a mountain. By the forger's smelting 
and hammering they become sliarp-edgecl. But notwithstanding this 
smelting .and hammering tlie material of good swords is not different 
from others. All depends on excellent workmanship and on the 
blade-smith's ability in working the iron. Take a sword worth 
only one chin from Tung-hsia, heat it again, and forge it, giving it 
sufficient fire, and smoothing and sharpening its edge, and it will 
be like a sword of a thousand chin. Iron and stones are made by 
Heaven, still being worked, they undergo a modification of their 
substance. Wliy then should man, whose nature is imbued with 
the five virtues, despair of the badness of his character, before he 
has been thoroughly worked upon by Worthies and Sages? 

The skillful physicians that in olden days were held in high 
esteem, kuew the sources where virulent diseases sprang from, and 
treated and cured tliem with acupuncture and medicines. Had they 
merely known the names of the complaints, but done nothing be- 
sides, looking quietly on, would there have beeu anything wonder- 
ful in them? Men who are not good have a disease of their nature. 
To expect them to change without proper treatment and instruction 
would be hopeless indeed. 

The laws of Heaven can be applied in a right and in a wrong 
way. The right way is in harmony with Heaven, the wrong one 
owes its results to human astuteness, but cannot in its effects be 

1 The name of the ancient copper coins, which first were called > " metal," 
not " gold," as may be seen from the works on coinage. 

2 This sword is said to have been fabricated by the famous blade-smith Ou 
Yeh in the kingdom of Tiieh. 

3 A place in Honan. 

4 This sword is the work of Ou Yeh of Yiieh and Kan Chiang of Wu, both 
celebrated sword-cutlers, who wrought it for the King of CKu. 

5 A place most likely in Chekiang, called ^|J 川 " Sword river " under the 
Sung dynasty. Play/air, Cities No. 4650. 


Lun-Hcng: D. Ethioal. 

distinguished from the ,riglit one. This will be shown by the 
following. Among the " Tribute of Yfi" 】 are mentioned jade and 
white corals. 2 These were the produce of earth and genuine precious 
stones and pearls. But tlie Taoists melt five kinds of stones, and 
make five-coloured gems out of them. Their lustre, if compared with 
real gems, does not differ. Pearls in fishes and shells are as genuine 
as the jade-stones in the Tribute of Yu. Yet the Marquis of Sui^ 
made pearls from chemicals, which were as brilliant as genuine ones.^ 
This is the climax of Taoist learning and a triumph of their skill. 

By means of a burning-glass one catches fire from heaven. 
Of five stones liquefied on the Ping'Wu ^ day of the 5tli moon an 
instrument is cast, whicli, when polished bright, lield up against 
the sun, brings clown fire too, in precisely the same manner as, 
when fire is caught in the proper way. Now, one goes even so 
far as to furbish the crooked blades of swords, till tliey shine, 
when, held up against the sun, they attract fire also. Crooked 
blades are not burning-glasses; that they can catch fire is the effect 
of rubbing. Now, provided the bad-natured men are of the same 
kind as good-naturecl ones, then tliey can be influenced, and induced 
to do good. Should they be of a different kind, tliey can also be 
coerced in the same manner as tlie Taoists cast gems, Sui Hon made 
pearls, and people furbish the crooked blades of swords. En- 
lightened with learning and familiarized with virtue, they too begin 
by and by to practise benevolence and equity. 

When Huang Ti fought with Yen Ti& for the empire, he taught 
bears, leopards, and tigers to combat for liim in the wilds of Fan- 
cliuan. After three battles he gained Lis end, and Yen Ti was routed. 

Yao yielded the empire to S/iun. Kun、i one of his vassals, 
desired to become one of the tliree chief ministers, but Yao did 

1 The Tribute of ) w, 】 VWm?'y, is also the name of a book of the Shuking, 

2 Cf. Shuking Pt. Ill, Book I {Legge, Classics Vol. IE, Pt. I, p. 127). ' 

3 A principality in Hupeu 

4 The time of this Marquis of Sui is unknown. His pearls are very famous 
in Chinese literature. Accordinfi; to one tradition the Marquis found a wounded snake, 
and cured it. Out of gratitude the snake presented hint with a precious pearl, which 
shone at night. Wwg ( liwng makes the Manjuis produce artificial peai'ls himself. 

5 A nnin])cr of the sexagenary cyde used for the designation of years, months, 
and days. 

I'm Ti is n.sujilly identified with Shrn JSnng and said to have been his 
predecessor, but we do not learn that be fought with Huang 7V lor the empire. 

7 According to luing ///, Kun = g 玄 would be the same as 寧系 Kmi, Yao's 
Minister of Works, who in vain endeavoured to drain the waters of the great flood. 
His son ] Vi, who suhseciuciitly beoanie emperor, succeeded at last in regulating the 
water courses. Here vvc seem to have u different tradition. 

The Forming of Characters. 


not listen to this request. Thereupon Km became more infuriated 
than even ferocious animals are, ami wished to rebel. Tlie horns 
of animals, all in a line, served him as a rampart, and their lifted 
tails were his banners. Tliey opposed and tackled their foe with 
the utmost determination and energy. ― If birds and beasts, wliich 
are shaped otherwise than man, can nevertheless be caused to fight, 
how much more so man's own kindred? Proceeding on this line 
of argument we liave no reason to doubt that (by music) the multi- 
tudinous animals were made to dance, the fisli in the ponds to 
come out and listen, and the six kinds of horses i to look up from 
their fodder.- 

The equalization of what varies in different categories as well 
as the cliirerentiatiou of what is the same in similar classes, does 
not depend on the thing itself, but is man's doing. 

It is by instruction that living beings are transformed. Among 
tlie Three Miao tribes^ some were honest, some disreputable. Yao 
and Shun made tliem all alike by conferring the boon of instruction 
upon them. 

Suppose the men of Ch u and Yileh ^ to settle down in CJmang 
or YiL ^ Having passed there iiiontlis and years, they would become 
pliant and yielding, and their customs changed. They say tliat the 
people of Cli i are soft and supple, those of CKin unsteady and 
versatile, of Cliu lively and passionate, of Yen^ dull and simple. 
Now let us suppose that people of the four States alternately went 
to live in C/iuang and Yii for a certain time, the prolonged stay in 
a place remote from their countiy would undubitably bring about 
a change of their character. 

A bad naturecl man's heart is like wood or stone, but even 
wood and stone can be used by men, why not what really is 
neither wood nor stone? We may liope that it will still be able 

1 Six kinds of horses were distinguished in the studs of the Chou emperors, 
according to their height. Tcheou Li [Chou Li), trad, par Biot, Vol. II, p. 262. 

2 There are many myths illustrative of the power of music. Hu l)a, 夸瓜 , 
played the guitar, so that the fish came out to listen, and Po J—^r, { 白;^ ^, played 
the lute in such an admirable way, that the horses forgot their fodder, and looked up to 
harken. Han-shih-wni ch 、瞧, quoted by the P^ei-ivai-yiln fu chap. 96 under 《,卩5(^. 

3 The aborigines of China, 

4 They were settled in modern Ilukuang and Chek'iang. 

5 An allusion to JMenclus Bk. Ill, Pt. 11, chap. 6, where the difference of the 
dialects of Clii and CJin is pointed out, Chuang and Yu were two quarters in the 
capital of CKi. 

f' The CKi State was in northern Shantung^ CKin in Shensi, and Ten in Chili. 
The characteristic of the inhabitants of these provinces is partly still true to-day. 


Lun - Heng : D. Ethical. 

to* understand the precepts of superior men. Only in the case of 
insanity, when a person sings and weeps in the streets, knowing 
neither east nor west, taking no heed of scorching heat or humidity, 
unaware of his own madness and unconscious of hunger and satiety, 
nature is deranged and upset, and there is no help. As such a man 
sees nothing before him, lie is afraid, of nothing. 

Therefore the government does not abolish the officers of 
public instruction or dispense with criminal judges, wishing thereby 
to inculcate the observance of the moral laws. The schools guide 
people at first, the laws control and restrain them later on. 

Even the will of a Tan Chu might be curbed ; the proof is 
that the soldiers of a big army are kept in order by reproofs. 
Men and officers are held in check to sucli au extent, that they 
look at death as a return. 

Ho Lu^ put his soldiers to the test by the " Five Lakes." ^ 
They all cut their arms with swords, that the blood trickled down 
to tlie ground. Kou Chien^ also gave his men a trial in the hall 
of Lis inner palace. Those who jumped into the fire and perished, 
were innumerable. Human nature is not particularly fond of swords 
and fire, but the two rulers had such a power over their men, 
that they did not care for their lives. It is the effect of military 
discipline to make light of cuts and blood. 

Meng Pen* was bold, but on hearing the order for the army 
he became afraid. In the same way the officers wlio were wont 
to draw their swords to fight out, whose merits were first, went 
through all the ceremonial, and prostrated themselves (before the 
emperor), when Shu Sun T\mg^ had fixed the rites. Imperious and 
overbearing first, they became obedient and submissive. The power 
of instruction and the influence of virtue transform the character. 
One need not sorrow that a character is bad, but it is to be 
regretted, if it does not submit to the teachings of the sages. Such 
an individual owes his misfortune to himself. 

Beans and wheat are different from rice and millet, yet their 
consumption satisfies the appetite. Are the natures of low and 

1 King of the Wu State, 514-496 b.c. 

2 Another name of the T'ui-hu lake in Kianpsit, which consisted of five 
lakes, or five connected sheets of water. 

:' The ruler of tlie Yi'ieh State, 4% b.c, who overthrew the kingdom of Wu. 
4 A hero of cnoriiious strength in the Chou epoch. 

-' An official of great power under Han Kao Tm, who subdued the arrogance 
and supeiciliousness of the princes and nobles by the ceremonial they were made 
to undergo at an audience before the new einperur. Shi-c/ii chap. 99, p. 7v, 

The Forming of Characters. 381 

superior men then of a different kind? They resemble the Five 
Grains, 1 all have their use. There is no fundamental difference 
between them, only their manifestations are unlike. The fluid men 
are endowed with, is either copious or deficient, and their character 
correspondingly good or bad. The wicked have received but a 
small dose of kindness, the irascible, pleuty of temper. If" kindness 
be unsufficient, people do wrong, and there is not much hope for 
an improvement. With plenty of temper, people become violent, 
and have no sense of justice. Moreover, their feeling of sympathy 
is defective, joy and auger do not happen at the proper time, and 
they have baseless and irreasonable fears. Reckless men like that 
commit outrages, therefore tliey are considered bad. 

Man has in his body the Five Qualities and the Five Organs.^ 
If he got too little of them, or if they are too small, his actions 
do not attain to goodness.* Man himself is either accomplished 
or deficient, but accomplishment and deficiency do not mean a dif- 
ference of organisation. Use leaven in big, or in small quantities, 
and tlie result will be similar. In rich as well as in poor wiue 
there is the same leaven. Good men as well as bad ones are 
permeated by tlie same original fluid. According to its greater or 
smaller volumen tlie mind of tlie individual is bright or dull. 

Hsi Men Pao would tighten his leathern belt, whenever lie 
wanted to relax himself. Tung An Yii loosened his girdle strings, 
wlieu he was going to rouse liimself.^ Yet neither passion nor 
indolence is the right medium. However, lie who wears a belt or 
a girdle on liis body is properly dressed. Wlien the question 
arises, how deficiencies can be made good by means of belts and 
strings, the names of Hsi Men Pao and lung An Yii must be mentioned 
together. 6 

1 Hemp, millet, rice, wheat, and beans. 

2 The Five Cardinal Virtues : — benevolence, justice, propriety, knowledge, 
and truth. 

3 The heart, the liver, the stomach, the lungs, and the kidneys. 

4 Human character, to wit the Five Qualities, depends on the volumen of the 
original fluid, the vital force, which shapes the Five Organs. According as they 
are bigger or smaller, the nature of the individual is different. This idea finds ex- 
pression ill the Chinese language. A man with a big heart, , is generous 
and liberal, with a small heart, 《、^|^, mean. Tlie fluid of the stomach, 

is equivalent to anger. 

5 Cf. p. 122. 

6 In both cases the belt or girdle is the same indispensible part of a gentle- 
man's toilet, but the use made of it, and the results achieved, are quite different. 
The same may be said of Iminaii nature. 


Lun - Heng : D. Ethical. 

Houses of poor, wretched people are not in a proper state. 
They have holes in tlie walls under the roof, to wliicli others take, 
objection. When rich and well-to-do people build houses, they 
have the walls made in a way, that tliey find there real shelter. 
The whole house is in good repair, and nobody could say anything 
against it. 

In WeP the land was divided in lots of a hundred mow, in 
Ye/i3 alone tlie lots measured two liundred 'mow. Hsi Men Pao ir- 
rigated his land with water from the Chang ^ and made it so fertile, 
that it yielded one bushel^ per mow. Man's natural parts are like 
tlie fields of Yeh, tuition and education, like the water from the 
Chang. One must be sorry for him that cannot be transformed , 
but not for a man whose character it is difficult to govern. 

In the streets of the city of Loyang^ there was no water. It 
was therefore pulled up from the Lo by watermen. ' If it was 
streaming quickly day and night, it was their doing. From this 
point of view kindness and justice must increase manifold in him 
wlio comes into close contact with an excellent man.s Mencius 
mother changed her domicile, for she had ascertained this truth.'' 

Water amongst men is dirty and muddy, in the open country 
it is clear and limpid. It is all the same water, and it flows from 
the confines of lieaven; its dirtiness and limpidity are tlie effects 
of its environments. 

Chao T' 0, king of the southern YUeh, was originally an honour- 
able man of the Han State, 】。 but lie took to the habits of the 
southern barbarians, disregarded the imperial commands, dressed 
his hair in a tuft, and used to squat down. He was so fond of 

1 Human nature is like those houses. They are all houses, and serve the 
same purpose, but some are in good repair, others in a wretched state. 

2 All ancient State in North Honaii and South Chili. 

3 The modern Chang-tc-fa. 

4 A large tributary of the river Wei in Ilonan, near Chaiiff-te-fti. 

" A Chung, an ancient measure equal to 4 pecks = 1 bushel, as some say. 
According to others it would be as much as 34 pecks. 

6 The capital of the Chou dynasty in Honan, the modern Honanfu. 

7 Probably with pump-works. 

8 The excellent man is like the river Lo. Streams of kindness and justice 
part from him. 

9 She changed her domicile for the purpose of saving her son from the bad 
influences of the neighbourhood. 

Chao T'v went to Yi'ieh, modern Kuang-tung, as general of ('Kin Shih 
Huaruj Ti, and subsequently became king of the southern barbarians, whose customs 
he adopted. Lu (Jhia was sent to him by the first emperor ol" the Han dynasty to 
receive hi.s declaratiuii of" allegiance. 

The Forming of Characters. 

:化 3 

this, as if it had been his nature. Lu Chid spoke to liim of the 
virtues of the Ilan, and impressed him with their lioly power, so 
that lie suddenly rose up, and lelt remorse. lie received the com- 
mands of his sovereign, and coinuiunicated tliem to tlic savages. 
Against "his liair-dress and to his squatting' he felt something like 
a natural repugnancy. First he acted in the aforesaid manner, 
afterwards thus. It shows wliat force instruction also has, and 
that nature is not the only factor. 


Lun - Heng : D. Ethical. 

On Original Nature {Pen-hsing). 

Natural feelings and natural disposition are the basis of human 
activity", and the source from which morals and music spring. Mor- 
als impede, and music checks the excesses of original nature. The 
natural disposition may be humble, modest, and yielding. The 
moral laws are enforced with a view to generalizing such praise- 
worthy qualities. The natural feelings may be good or bad, cheerful 
or angry, mournful or merry. Music is made in order to make 
every one behave respectfully. What morals and music aim at are 
the natural feelings and natural disposition. 

The ancient literati and scholars who have written essays 
have all touched upon this question, but could not give a satisfactory 
answer. The philosopher Shih Tse ^ of the Chou time held that 
human nature is partly good and partly bad, that, if the good 
nature in man be cultivated and regulated, his goodness increases, 
and if his bad nature be, his badness develops. Thus in the human 
heart there would be two conflicting principles, and good and evil 
depend on cultivation. Accordingly, Shih Tse composed a chapter 
on cultivation. 

Fu Tse Chim, Cfii Tiao IC ai, and Kung Sun Ni Tse ^ also dis- 
cuss this subject in very much the same way as Shih Tse, all de- 
claring that nature is partly good, partly bad. 

Mencius wrote a chapter on the goodness of nature,^ contending 
that all men are originally good, and that the bad ones are cor- 
rupted by the world. Men, he says, are created by heaven and 
earth ; tliey are all provided with a good nature, but when they 
grow up and come into contact witli the world, they run wild, 

1 His full name is Shih Sht-. He was one of the seventy disciples of Con- 
fucius and a writer. The Catalogue of the Han-shu chap. 30 mentions twenty-one 
chapters of liis pen. Faber in his Doctrines of Confucius p. 29 states that the title 
of the lost work of Shih S/i>' was " yang-shu " ^^^^, and that he is said to have 
been a disciple of Clii Tiao K'ai, whom vide. 

2 All disciples of Confucius, whose writings were still extant during the H(m 
dynasty, but iire now lost. According to Liu HMn'n Catalogue Fu Tse Chien alias 
Fu Pu Chi wrote 16 chapters, ( '/n Tiao K'ai 12, and Kung Sun Ki Tse 28. 

3 Mendus Bk. VI, Pt. I. 

On Original Nature. 


and are perverted, and their wickedness increases daily. According 
to Mencius opinion, maiij when young, would be invariably good. 

Wd Tse 1 said, " I have formerly remarked, that as a child 
the prince [Chou) did not show off." 

When Chou was a child, Wei Tse observed that he liad no 
good character. Inclined to evil, he did not eclipse the common 
people, and when he had grown up, lie caused endless revolutions. 
Therefore Wei Tse 's remark. 

When Yang- She S/ii/i- Wo - was born and Lady S/ni saw him, 
and upon entering the hall lieard him cry, she went back and said, 
" His voice is that of a wolf. He lias a reckless character, desti- 
tute of all affection. But for liim the Yang Site family would not 
perish." Afterwards she cleeHiied to see him. When lie liad grown 
up, Clii Sheng made a rebellion* in which Shih-Wo took part. 
The people killed him, and the Yang She family was extinguished 
thereby. 3 

Chou 's wickedness dated from his cliildliood, and Shi- Wo' s- 
rebellion could be foretold from tlie uew-born's whine. As a new- 
born child lias not yet had any intercourse with the Avorld, who 
could have brought about his perversion? 

Tan Chu was born in Yao's palace, and Shang C/iiln in Shuns 
hall. Under the reign of these two- sovereigns, the people house 
by house were worthy of being entrusted with a fief. Those with 
whom the two might have mixed, were most excellent, and the 
persons forming the suit of the two emperors, were all most vir- 
tuous. Nevertheless, Tan Chu was lianghty, and Shang Chiln brutal. 
Both lacked imperial decorum to such a degree, that they were 
set up as a warning to coming generations. 

Mencius judges men by the pupils of their eyes. If the heart 
be bright, says he, the pupils are clear, if it be dark, the pupils 
are dim.^ However, tlie clearness and dimness of the eyes reaches 
back to as far as man's birth. These differences are due to the 
different fluids received from heaven. The eyes are not clear during 
childhood, or dimmed, when man grows, and associates with other 
people. Nature at first is spontaneous, goodness and badness are 

1 The Viscount of Wei, a kinsman of prince ( 'hou i. e. Chou Hsin, the last 
emperor of the Shang dynasty, who lost the throne through liis wickedness and 
tyrany (1154-1122 b.c.). 

2 The Yang She family was very powerful in the Chin State. Lady Shu had 
married one Yang She and was thus related to Yang-Sh<: Shih-Wo. 

3 This took place in the Chin State in 513 b.c. 

4 Mencius Bk. IV, Pt. I, chap. XV. 

Lun-Heng. 25 


Lun - Heng : D. Ethical. 

the outcome of different dispositions. What Mencms says about 
original nature is not true. 

Yet something may have contributed to the idea of the good- 
ness of nature. A man may be benevolent or just, it is the wonder- 
ful proficiency of liis nature, as in his locomotion and movements 
lie shows liis extraordinary natural ability. But his colour, whether 
white or black, and his stature, whether long or short, remain un- 
changed until old age and final death. Siicli is liis heavenly nature. ' 

Everybody knows that water, earth, and other substances 
differ in tlieir natures, but people are not aware that good and 
evil are due to different natural dispositions. A one year old baby 
is not inclined to violent robbery. After it has grown up, its 
greed may gradually develop, and lead to ferocity and aggressiveness. 

Kao Tse、 a contemporary of Mencms denies the difference of 
goodness and badness in nature, comparing it to flowing water 
which led to the east, runs eastward, and to the west, westward. 
As water cannot be divided according to its eastern or western 
direction, a division of men into good and bad ones is untenable.^ 
Therefore Kao Tse asserts that human nature is similar to the 
nature of water. Such being the case, water may well be used as 
an illustration. 

Nature is as metal is metal, and wood, wood. A good man 
has a natural bent towards goodness, and a wicked man to wicked- 
ness. Man is endowed by heaven with a spontaneous mind, and 
has received a uniform disposition.'' Therefore portents appear at 
the time of birth, from whicli man's goodness and badness can be 

People with whom no difference of good and bad exists, and 
who may be pushed one or the other way, are called average 
people. Being neither good nor bad, tliey require instruction in 
order to assume a certain type. Therefore Confucius says that with 
people above the average one can discourse on higher subjects, but 
that with those under the average one cannot do so.* Kao Tse's 
comparison with channelled water applies only to average people, 
but does not concern extremely good or extremely bad persons. 

1 The spiritual nature may be transfoniied, but not the physical one. Human 
nature is so wonderful, that even originally bad people may by much training be- 
come beiievclcnt and just. JUmcius seeing these wonderful results was misled into 
tlie belief tliat liumaii nature was originally good. 

2 Mencius Bl" VI, Pt. I, chap. II. 

3 Either good or had, not partly good nnd partly had. 
* Analecti II, 19. 

On Original Nature. 


According to Confucius people are nearly related to one au other by 
character, but become very different by liabit.i The cliaracter of 
average people is tlie work of habit. Made familiar with good, 
they turn out good, a customed to evil, they become wicked. Only 
witli extremely good, or extremely bad characters lia])it is of no 
avail. Therefore Confucius holds tliat only highly cultured and 
grossly ignorant people cannot be changed.'- Their natures being 
either good or otherwise, the influence of sages, and tlie teaching 
of wise men is impotent to work a change. Since Confucius, the 
Nestor in wisdom and virtue, and the most eminent of all pliilo- 
sopliers, asserts tlie uncliangeability of liiglily cultured and grossly 
ignorant people, we may conclude that Kao Tse 's sayings are not 

However, there is some foundation for Kao Tse 's view. The 
ShikingS says: ― " What can that admirable man be compared to? " 
The Tso-cJman answers : ― "He is like boiled silk; dyed with indigo 
it becomes blue, coloured with vermilion it turns crimson." Leading 
water eastward or westward is like dyeing silk blue or red, 、 Tan 
Chu and Shaiig Chun were also imbued with Yao and Shuns doc- 
trines, but Tan Chu remained hauglity, and Shang Cltiln cruel. Tlie 
extremely bad stuff they were made of did not take tlie blue or 
the red colour. 

In opposition to Mencius, Sun CIdng * wrote a chapter on the 
wickedness of nature, supposing human nature to be wicked, and 
its goodness to be ficticious. Wickedness of nature means to say 
that men, when they are born, have all a bad nature, and ficti- 
ciousness tliat, after tliey have grown up, tliey are forcibly induced 
to do good. According to this view of Sun Ching, among men, even 
as children, there are no good ones. 

Chi as a boy amused himself with planting trees. When Con- 
fucius could walk, lie played with sacrificial vessels. When a stone 
is produced, it is hard, when a fragrant flower comes forth, it 
smells. All things imbued with a good fluid develop accordingly 
witli their growth. He who amused himself witli tree planting, 

1 Analects XVH, 2. 

2 Analects XVH, 3. 

3 Shiking I, Bk. IV, Ode IX, 2. Vid. above p. 374. 

* One of the Ten Philosophers, whose work has come down to us. He 
lived in the 3rd cent. b.c. His original surname Hsiin ― hence Hsiin Tse ― 
was changed into Sun under the reign of the Emperor Hman Ti of the Han 
dynasty, 73-48 b.c, whose personal name was Hsiin. Cf. Edkim, " Siun King the 
Philosopher " in Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, Shanghai Vol. XXXIII, p. 46. 



Lun - Heng : D. Ethical. 

became the minister of T^ang^^ and the boy who played with 
sacrificial vessels, tlie sage of CIiou. Things with a fragrant or 
stony nature sliow their hardness and fragrance. Sun C/wig's 
opinion is, therefore, incompatible with truth, yet his belief in tlie 
wickedness of nature is not quite without foundation: 

A one year old baby lias no yielding disposition. Seeing 
sometliing to eat, it cries, and wants to eat it, and beholding a 
nice thing, it weeps, and wants to play with it. After it has 
grown up, its propensities are checked, and its wishes cut dowu, 
and it is compelled to do good. 

Liu Tse Cheng^ objects that in this case heaven would have 
no fluid. Where would tlie first good deed come from, if the Yang 
and the Yin principles and good and evil were not counterbalancing 
each other? 

Lu Chia ^ says that, when heaven and earth create men, they 
predispose tliem in favour of propriety and justice, that man can 
see what for he lias received life ami act accordingly, wliicli ac- 
cordance is ('ailed virtue. Lu Chia thinks that the human mind 
is turned towards propriety and justice, and that man also can dis- 
cover what for he has come into life. However, the riglit-minded 
do good of their own accord witliout waiting for tliis discovery, 
and the evil-minded disregard propriety and defy justice, although 
they see quite clearly in tlie matter. It is impossible tliat justice 
should win them to the good cause. Thus the covetous can speak 
very well on disinterestedness, and the rebels on good government, 
robber CM^ conclems theft and Chiiang Cldao ^ stigmatises lawless- 
ness. They have a clear conception of themselves, and know how- 
to talk on virtue, but owing to their vicious character they do not 
practise Avhat they say, and the good cause derives no benefit from 
it. Therefore Lu Chias opinion cannot be considered tlie right one. 

Tung Chung Shu^ having read Mencius and Sun Ching, s writings, 
composed himself an essay on natural feelings and natural dis- 

1 Viz. of Yao who reigned at T、mg、 in (,! lili, 

2 A famous author, more generally known by the naiiie Liu Hsiang^ 80-9 B.C., 
whose works we still possess. 

3 A politician and scholar of tlic 3rd and 2nd cent, b.c, author of the " New 
Words" ^jff , the same as mentioned above p. 383 as envoy to the king of the 
southern Yiieh, 

4 Cf. p. 139. 

& Another outlaw. 

f' An autlior of the 2nd cent. n.c. wlio wrote the " Dew of the Spring and 
Autumn " 春' 秋 繁 處 which is still extant. 

On Original Nature, 


position, in which he says: ― Heaven's great principles are on one 
side tlie Yin, on tlie otlier the Yang. The great principles in man 
are on one side the natural feelings, on tlie otlier natural disposition. 
The disposition comes out of tlie Yang, tlie feelings out of the Yin. 
The Yin fluid is base, the Yang fluid humane. Wlio believes in the 
goodness of nature sees the Yang, who speaks of its wickedness 
the Yin. That is, Tung Chung Shu means to say that Mencius saw 
only the Yang, and Sun Ching the Yin. 

The opinions of the two philosophers may well thus be 
distinguished, but as regards liuman nature, such a distinction does 
not liold good. Goodness and badness are not divided in this way. 
Natural feelings and natural disposition are simultaneously produced 
by the Yin and tlie Yang combined, either more or less copiously. 
Precious stones growing in rocks are partly of a single colour, 
partly multicoloured, liow can natural feelings or natural disposition 
growing iu tlie Yin and Yang be either exclusively good? What 
Tung Chung Shu says is not correct. 

Liu Tse Cheng teaches that the natural disposition is formed 
at birth, that it is inherent to the body and does not come out, 
that on the other hand natural feelings arise from tlie contact with 
the world, and manifest themselves outwardly. That which mani- 
fests itself outwardly, he calls Yang, that which does not appear, 
he calls Yin Thus Liu Tse Cheng submits tliat the natural dis- 
position is inherent to the body, but does not come out, whereas 
tlie natural feelings unite with external things, and appear out- 
wardly. Therefore lie designates them as Yang. The natural dis- 
position lie designates as Yin, because it does not appear, and has 
no communication witli the outer world. Liu Tse Cheng's identifica- 
tion of natural feelings witli Ycmg and disposition with Yin leaves 
tlie origin of these qualities quite out of the question, insomuch 
as the Yin and the Yang are determined in an oft-hand way by- 
outward manifestation and non-appearance. If the Yang really 
depends on outward manifestation, then it may be said that na- 
tural disposition also .comes into contact with external things. " In 
moments of haste, lie cleaves to it, and in seasons of danger lie 
cleaves to it." 】 The comjiassionate caunot endure the sight of 
suffering. This non-endurance is au effluence of benevolence. Hu- 
mility and modesty are manifestations of natural disposition. These 
qualities have all their external objects. As compassion aud mod- 

1 A quotation from AnalecU IV, 5, where we read that the superior man al- 
ways cleaves to benevolence. 


Lun - Heng : D. Ethical. 

esty manifest themselves outwardly, I am afraid that tlie assertion 
that natural disposition is sometliing inside without any connection 
witli external tilings, cannot be right. By taking into consideration 
merely outwardness and inwardness, Yin and Yang , without refer- 
ence to the goodness and badness of nature, tlie truth cannot be 
known. As Liu Tse Cheng lias it, natural disposition would be Yin, 
and natural feelings Ymg, but have men not good as well as bad 

From Mencius down to Liu Tse Cheng the profoundest scholars 
and greatest thinkers have propounded a great many different views 
without, however, solving the problem of original nature in a satis- 
factory way. The arguments of the philosophers Shih Tse, Kung 
Sun Ni Tse, and others of the same class 】 alone contain mucli truth. 
We may say that it is easy to understand the subject, but the 
difficulty is to explain the principle. Style and diction may be 
ever so brilliant and flowery,- and the conceptions and arguments 
as sweet as lioney, all that is no proof of their truth. 

As a matter of fact, human natural disposition is sometimes 
good, and sometimes bad, just as human faculties can be of a 
high or of a low order. High ones cannot be low, nor low ones 
high. To say that human nature is neither good nor bad would 
be the same as to maintain that human faculties are neither liigli 
nor low. The original disposition wliicli Heaven gives to men, and 
the destiny which it sends down, are essentially alike. By destiny 
men are honoured or despised, by nature good or bad. If one. 
disputes the existence of goodness and badness in liiiinan nature, 
he might as well call in question that destiny makes men great 
or miserable. 

The nature of the soil of the Nine Provinces ^ is different in 
regard to goodness and badness. It is yellow, red, or black, of 
superior, average, or inferior quality. The water courses are not 
all alike. They are limpid or muddy, and run east, west, north 
or southward. Man is endowed witli the nature of Heaven and 
Earth, and imbued with the spirit of the Five Qualities.* He may 

1 Who maintain that, human nature is partly good and partly bad. 

2 The text has ,| 《文 茂言已 which looks like a name : ― the Record of 
Fmff Wf'n Mao, The fact, however, that a philosopher of the name of Feng Wm 
Mao is unknown, and the symmetry of the context leads me to the conclusion that 
instead of 靜|^ we should read and translate, as I have done. 

3 In prehistoric times China was divided into nine provinces, hence the term 
the Nine Provinces has heconie a synonym of China. 

4 Cf. p. 381 Note 2. 

On Original Nature. 

be benevolent or just, it is the wonderful proficiency of his nature. 
Ill his locomotion and movements lie may be majestic or agile, it 
is his extraordinary natural ability. But his colour, whether white 
or black and his stature, whether long or short, remain unclian^ed 
until old age and Hnal death. Such is heavenly nature. 】 

I am decidedly of opinion that wliat Mencius says on the 
goodness of human nature, refers to people above the average, 
that what S'.u Clang says on its badness, refers to people under 
the average, and that, if Yang llskmg teaches that in human nature 
goodness and badness are mixed together, he means average people. 
Bringing people back to the unclianging standard and leading them 
iuto the riglit way, one may teach them. But this teaching alone 
does not exhaust liuman nature. 

1 The last sentences are repeated from p. 386. 


Lun-Heng: E. Critic^ue. 

Criticisms on Confucius (Wen K'ung). 

The students of Confucianism of tlie present day like to swear 
in verba magistri, and to believe in antiquity. The words of the 
Worthies and Sages are to them infallible, and they do their best 
to explain and practise them, but tliey are unable to criticize tliem. 
When the Worthies and Sages take tlie pencil, and commit their 
thoughts to writing, though they meditate, and thoroughly discuss 
their subject, one cannot say that they always hit the truth, and 
much less can their occasional utterances all be true. But although 
tliey cannot be all true, tlie scholars of to-day do not know, how 
to impugn tliem, and, in case they are true, but so abstruse that 
they are difficult to understand, those people do not know liow to 
interpret their meaning. The words of the Sages on various oc- 
casions are often contradictory, and their writings at dillerent times 
very often mutually clash. That however is, what the scholars of 
our time do not understand. 

One always hears the remark that the talents of the Seventy 
Disciples of tlie school of Confuchis surpassed those of the savants 
of our (lays. This statement is erroneous. Tliey imagine that I ,on- 
fitcms acting as teacher, a Sage propounding tlie doctrine, must 
have imparted it to exceptionally gifted men, whence the idea that 
they were quite unique. Tlie talents of the ancients are the talents 
of the moderns. Wliat we call men of superior genius now-a-days, 
were regarded by tlic ancients as Sages and supernatural beings, 
hence the belief that the Seventy Sages could not appear in other 

Tf at present there could be ; > teaclier like Coiifuc'ms, the 
s Ijolars of" this ngc would all he like Ym and and without 

Criticisms on Confucius. 


Confucius, the Seventy Disciples would be only like the Literati of 
the present day. For tliougli learning from Confucius^ they could 
not thoroughly inquire. The words of tlie Sage they did not 
completely understand, his doctrines and principles they were 
unable to explain. Therefore they ought to have asl^ed to get 
a clearer conception, and not understanding thoroughly, they 
ought to have raised objections in order to come to a complete 

The sentiments which Kao Yao^ uttered before the Emperor 
Shun were shallow and superficial, and not to the point. Yii asked 
him to explain himself, wlien the shallow words became deeper, 
and the superficial hints more explicit,^ for criticisms animate the 
discussion, and bring out the meaning, and opposition leads to 
greater clearness. 

Confucius ridiculed the guitar-playing and singing of Tse Yn,^ 
who, however, retorted by quoting what Co)ifucius had said on a 
previous occasion. If we now take up the text of the Analects, 
we shall see that in the sayings of Confucius there is much like 
the strictures on the singing of Tse Yu. But there were few dis- 
ciples able to raise a question like Tse Yu. In consequence the 
words of Confucius became stereotyped and inexplicable, because 
the Seventy could not make any objection, and the scholars of 
the present time are not in a position to judge of the truth of 
the doctrine. 

Their scientific methods do not arise from a lack of ability, 
but the difficulty consists in opposing' the teacher, scrutinizing liis 
doctrine, investigating its meaning, and bringing- evidence to ascer- 
tain right and wrong. Criticism is not solely permitted vis-a-vis to 
sages, as long as they are alive. The commentators of the present 
day do not require the instruction of a sage, before they dare to 

If questions be asked on tilings which seem inexplicable, and 
Confucius be pressed hard, liow can this be deemed a violation of 
the moral laws, and if those who really are able to hand cknvii 
the holy teachings, impugn the words of Confucius, why must their 
undertaking be considered unreasonable? I trust that, as regards 

1 J'e/i Hui and Min Tse Ch'ien, two prominent disciples of Confucius. 

2 The minister of Shun. 

3 The discussions of the two wise men before Shun are to be found in the 
Shaking, Kao Yao nw. 

4 Cf. Analeds XVII, 4. 

394 Lun-Heiig: E. Ci-itiqiie. 

those inquiries into the words of Confticms and those remarks on 
his unintelligible passages, men of" genius of all ages, possessing 
the natural gift of answering questions and solving difficulties, 
will certainly appreciate the criticisms and investigations made in 
our time. 

" Mmg I Tse ' asked, what filial piety was. The Master said, 
' To show no disregard.' Soon after, as Fan Chih ^ was driving 
him, the Master told him saying, " Meng Sun ^ asked me, what filial 
piety was, and I answered him, ' To show no disregard.' " 

Fan Chih said, ' What does that mean? ' The Master re- 
plied, ' That parents, while alive, should be served according to 
propriety; that, when dead, tliey should be buried according to 
propriety; and that they should be sacrificed to according to pro- 
priety.' ,,4 

Now I ask, Confucius said that no disregard is to be shown 
viz. no disregard to propriety. But a good son also must anticipate 
his parents' thoughts, conform to their will, and never disregard their 
wishes. Confucius said " to show no disregard," but did not speak 
of disregard for propriety. Could Meng I Tse, hearing the words 
of Confucius, not imagine tliat lie meant to say, " no disregard for 
(the parents) wishes? " When Fan Chih came, lie asked, what it 
meant. Then Confucius said, " That parents while alive should be 
served according to propriety ; that, when dead, tliey should be 
buried according to propriety; and that tliey should be sacrificed 
to according to propriety." Had Fan Chih not inquired, what the 
words " no disregard " meant, lie would not have understood them. 

Meng I Tse 's talents did not surpass those of Fan Chih, there- 
fore there is no record of his sayings or doings in the chapters 
of the Analects. Since Fan Chih could not catch the meaning, would 
Meng I Tse have done so? 

Meng Wu Po asked what filial piety was. The Master replied 
" If the only sorrow parents have, is that which they feel, wlieu 
their children are sick." & 

1 Mmg I Tse was the cliief of one of three powerful families in Lu. 

2 A disciple of Confucius, 

3 /. e. Meng I Tse. 

* Analects U, 5. 一 The citations from the Analects are quoted from hegge's 
translation, but liore and tliere modified so as to suit the text, for Wang (Jh'ung 
often understands a passage quite differently from Legge and his authorities. 
Analects II, G. 

Criticisms on Confucius. 

? 9 5 

Men (J Wn Po used to cause liis pamits imicli sorrow, therefore 
( 'onfucius spoke the afore-mentioned words. M'hiy Po was a 
cause of sorrow to his parents, whereas Meug I T. 化 disregarded 
propriety. 11" in reproving this fault Confucius replied to Meng Wit 
" If the only sorrow parents have is that wliicli they feel, wiien 
their children are sick," lie ought to have told Meng 『 Tse that 
only in case of tire or inundation might propriety be neglected. 

CI I oil Kuitg says that small talents require thorough instruc- 
tious, \\'liereas for great ones a hint is sufficient. Tse Yu possessed 
great talents, yet with liim Confucms "went into details. The talents 
of Meng I Tse were comparatively small, but Confucms gave him a 
mere hint. Thus lie did not fall in with Chou Kung 's views. Re- 
proving the shortcomings of Meng I Tse, he lost the right principle. 
How was it that none of his disciples took exception? 

11" he did not dare to speak too openly owing to the high 
position held by Meng I Tse, he likewise ought to have said to 
Ming Wu Po nothing more than ' not to cause sorrow (is filial piety),' 
for both were scions of tlie Meng family, and of equal dignity. 
There is no apparent reason, why he should have spoken to Meng 
Wu Po in clear terms and to Meng I Tse thus vaguely. Had Ccm- 
fucius freely told Meng I Tse not to disregard propriety, what liai'm 
would there have been? 

No other family was more powerful in La than the Chi 
family, yet Confucms blamed them for having eight rows of panto- 
mimes in their court, ' and objected to their performing a sacrifice 
on Mount T air He was not afraid of the evil consequences, which 
this lack of reserve in regard to tlie usurpation of territorial rights 
by the Chi family might have for 】iim, but anticipated bad results 
from a straightforward answer given to Meng I Ise? Moreover, 
he was questioned about filial piety more than once, and he bad 
always his charioteer at liand.^ When he spoke to Meng 1 Tse, 
lie was not merely in a submissive mood/ therefore lie informed 
Fan Cliih. 

Confucius said 5 "Riches and honour are wliat men desire. If 
tliey cannot be obtained in the proper 、vay, they should not be 

1 Analects HI, 1. 

2 Analects III, 6. This sacrifice was a privilege of tlie sovereign. 

3 So that he might have used him as his mouth-piece as in the case of 
Mrng I Tse. 

4 He was not afraid of Meng I Tse. 

5 Analects IV, 5. 


Lun-Heiig: E. Criti([ue. 

held. Poverty and meanness are what men dislike. If they cannot 
be obtained in the proper way, they should not be avoided." i 

The meaning is that men must acquire riches in a just and 
proper way, and not take them indiscriminately, that tliey must 
keep within tlieir bounds, patiently endure poverty, and not reck- 
lessly throw it off. To say that riclies and honour must not be 
lield, unless tliey are obtained in the proper way, is all right, but 
what is poverty aud meanness not obtained iu a proper way?. 
Wealth aud honour can, of course, be abandoned, but what is the 
result of giving up poverty and meanness? By giving up poverty 
and meanness one obtains wealth and honour. As long as one 
does not obtain wealth and honour, one does not get rid of pov- 
erty and meanness. If we say that, unless wealth and 】ionom、 
cau be obtained in a proper way, poverty and meanness should 
not be shunned, then that which is obtained is wealth and honour, 
not poverty and meanness. How can the word " obtaining " be 
used witli reference to poverty and meanness? Therefore the pas- 
sage ouglit to read as follows : 

" Poverty and meanness are what people dislike. If tliey can- 
not be avoided in the proper way, they should not be avoided." 

Avoiding is the proper word, not obtaining. Obtaining is 
used of obtaining. Now there is avoiding, how can it be called 
obtaining? Only iu regard to riches and honour we. can speak of 
obtaining. How so? By obtaining riches and honour one avoids 
poverty and meanness. Then how can poverty and meanness be 
avoided in the proper way? -- By purifying themselves and keeping 
in the proper way officials acquire rank and emoluments, vvealtli 
and honour, and by obtaining these tliey avoid poverty aud meanness. 

How are poverty and meanness avoided not in tlie proper 
wiiy ? 一 If anybody feels so vexed and annoyed with poverty and 
meanness, that lie lias recourse to brigandage and robbery for 
tlie ])ur|)()se of amassing money aud valuables, and usurps o fluvial 
emolunients, then he does not keep in the proper way. 

Since the Seventy Disciples did not ask any question regarding 
the passage under discussion, the literati of to-day are likewise 
iiica|)able of raising any objection. 

If tlie meaning- of this utterance is not exphi'iiie'l, nor the 
words made clear, Ave would have to say that Confucius could not 

1 Wanff CKurtg tliiis iiUerprels tlie passage, vvliicli gives iio sense. I should 
say that he misunderstood Confucius, for every difficulty is removed, if we take the 
words to menu what Lci/yr tniiislale.s : - " [f it cannot be (ibtaiiied " inz. " if it is not 
jio.s.sihlc to act ill the alur (;. siiid iiiaiiiicr " iiit>lcad ol" " if Ihry cannot he obtained." 

Criticisms on roiifuciiis. 


speak properly. As long as the meaning continues unravelled, and the 
words unexplained, the admonition of Confucius remains uiicomprelien- 
sible. Why did liis disciples not ask, and people now say nothing? 

" Confucius said of Kung Yeh C/tang tliat lie might hv wived 
and that, although lie 、vas put in bonds, he was not guilty. Ac- 
cordingly lie gave him his daughter to wife." ' 

I ask wliat was the idea of Confucius, when he gave a wife 
to Kung Yeh C/iang. Did lie think liiiu fit to marry, because lie 
was thirty years old, or on account of his excellent conduct? If 
he had his tliirty years in view, he should not liave spoken of 
his being in fetters, and if lie looked upon his conduct, there was 
no occasion either for mentioning' his imprisonment. Why? Because 
all who joined tlie school of Confucius were well-behaved. There- 
fore tliey were called accomplished followers. If among these 
followers one or the other was unmarried, he might have been 
married, but it need not he mentioned. If among the disciples 
many unmarried ones existed and Kur'g Yeh Cli ang was the most 
virtuous of them, and should therefore Confucius have given liiin a 
wife alone, then in praising him Confucius ouglit to have enumer- 
ated liis deeds instead of speaking of his imprisonment. There are 
not a few persons in tlie world, wlio suffer violence without being- 
guilty, but they are not perfect sages therefore. Of ordinary people 
wlio are wronged, there are a great many, not only one. If Confucius 
made an innocent man his son-in-law, lie selected not a virtuous man, 
but one who had suffered injustice. The only praise Confucius liad for 
Kung Yeh Cliavg was his innocence: of his doings or his qualities he 
said not a word. If in fact he 、va,s not virtuous, and Confucins made 
him his son-in-law, he did wrong, and if he was virtuous indeed, 
but Confucius in praising 】iim did not mention it, he was wrong- 
likewise. It was like liis giving a wife to Nan Yung,- of whom he 
said til at ' if the country were well-governed, he would not be out 
of office, and if it were ill-governed, he would escape punishment 
and disgrace,' 3 a praise which left nothing to be desired.'^ 

1 Analects V, 1 . 

2 Confiidus gave Nan Yung the daughter of liis elder brother to wife. 

3 Analects V, 1. 

4 Wang CKung's objections are again far-fetched and groundless. The words 
of Confucius imply that Kung Yeh CJiang's character was so excellent and above 
suspicion, tliat Confuchis would not doubt liim, even if lie were coiideiiiiied by the 
world and treated like a criminal, and therefore he made him his son-in-law. 


Lun -Heiig: E. Critique. 

The Master said to Tse Kung, " Whicli of you two, yourself 
or Hui is superior? " Tse Rung replied, " How dare I compare my- 
self witli Hui? If Hui hears one point, lie knows therefrom ten 
others. If I hear one, I know but two." Tlie Master said " Not 
equal to liim, I and you together cannot compare with him." i 

Thus with a view to setting forth the excellen (力 of Yen Hui this 
question was put to Tse Rung. This calls for the following remark : 

That which Confucius propounded was propriety and modesty. 
Tse Lit would govern a State with propriety, but his words were 
not modest, therefore Confucius criticized liim.- Had Tse Kung 
really been superior to Hui, lie would, on being asked by Confucius, 
have replied nevertheless that he was not equal to liiin, and had 
he been inferior in fact, he would likewise have owned to liis in- 
feriority. In tlie first case the answer would not have been wrong 
or a deception of the Master, for propriety and modesty require 
depreciatory and humble words. 

What was tlie purport of this inquiry of Confucius? If lie was 
aware that Yen Hui surpassed Tse Kung, he did not need to ask the 
latter, and if he really did not know, and therefore asked Tse Kung, 
he would not have learned it in this way either, for Tse Kung was 
bound to give a modest and humble reply. If Confucius merely 
wanted to eulogise Hui and praise Ins virtue, there were many 
other disciples not enjoying tlie same fame, why must lie just ask 
'Tse Kung ? 

The Master said, " Admirable indeed was the virtue of Hui ! ," 
and further, " I liave talked with Hui for a whole day, and he lias 
not made any objection, as if lie were stupid " ^ and, " Sucli was 

that for three months there would be nothing in his mind 
contrary to perfect virtue," ^ In all these three chapters Hui is 
praised directly, but not at tlie cost of any other person, why 
then must Tse Kung in one chapter serve to him as a foil? 

Somebody might think that Confucius wanted to snub Tse Kung. 
At that time the fame of Tse Kung 、vas greater than that of Yen 
Hui. Confucius appreliensive, .lest Tse Kung should become too con- 
ceited arrd overbearing, wanted to humble hi in. 

If liis name ranked above that of Hui, it was a simple fact 
at that time, but not brought about by Tse Kung' s endeavours to 

1 Analects V, 8. 

2 Analects XI, 10. 

3 Analects VI, !). 

4 Analects II, 9. 
" Analects VI, 5. 

Criticisms on Confueins. 

supersede his rival. How could the judgment of Tse Kung have 
afl'ected the case? Even supposing that, in case Yen Ilui's talents 
were superior to liis, he had submitted of liis own accord, there 
was no necessity for any snubbing. If Tse Kung could not know it 
liimself, lie would, notliwitlistanding' anything Confucius might have 
said, have been convinced that the latter only wanted to humble 
him, and in that case questioning or no questioning would liave 
neither humbled nor elated him. 

Tsai Wo being asleep during the day time, the Master said, 
"Rotten wood cannot be carved ; a wall of dirty earth will not 
receive the trowel. But what is the use of my reproviug Tsai 
Wo\ " ^ 一 For sleeping during the day Tsai Wo was reprimanded in 
this way. 

Sleeping during day time is a small evil. Rotten wood and 
dirty earth are things in such a state of decay, that they cannot 
be repaired, and must be regarded as great evils. If a small evil 
is censured, as tliougli it were a great one, the person in question 
would not submit to such a judgment. If Tsai Wo's character was 
as bad as rotten wood or dirty earth, he ought not to have been 
admitted to the school of Confucius nor rank in one of the four 
classes of disciples; In case his character was good however, 
Confucius dealt too harshly with him. 

" If a man is not virtuous, and you carry your dislike of 
him to extremes, he will recalcitrate."^ The dislike shown by 
Confucius for Tsai Wo lias been, so to say, too strong. Provided 
that common and ignorant people had committed some smaller 
punishable offence, and the judge condemned tlieni to capital 
punisliment, would they suffer the wrong, and complain of the 
injustice, or would tliey quietly submit, and consider themselves 
guilty? Had Tsai Wo been an ignorant man, his feelings would 
have been tlie same with tliose people guilty of some olFence; being 
a worthy, he must have understood a reproof of Confucius, and 
have reformed at tlie slightest remark. An open word was sufficient 

1 Analects Y, 9. 

2 The four classes into which the ten principal disciples of Confucius were 
divided according to their special abilities : ― virtue, eloquence, administrative talents, 
and literary acquirements. Tsai Wo belongs to the second class of the able speakers 
together with Tfe Kung. Cf. Analects XI, 2. 

3 Analect." VHI, 10. 


Lun-Heng: E. Critique. 

to enlighten liim, whereas an exaggeration would have missed its 
mark. At the first allusion lie would already have reformed. That 
however did not depend on the strength of the language used, but 
on Tsai Wo's ability to change. 

The scheme of the " CK un Ch'iu" is to point out any small 
goodness, and to censure small wrongs.^ But if Confucius praised 
small deserts in higli terms, and censured trifling wrongs immoder- 
ately, would Tsai Wo liavins; tlie scheme of the CI tun Cliiu in view 
agree with such criticism? If not, lie would not accept it, and 
tlie words of Confucius would be lost. 

The words of a Sage must tally with his writings. His words 
come from his mouth, and his writings are in liis books, but both 
flow from the heart, and are the same in substance. When Con- 
fucius composed tlie " Ch'un CJ"u" lie did not censure small tilings, 
as if they were very important, but in reproving Tsai Wo he con- 
demned a small oirence in tlie same manner as an cnoriiious crime. 
His Avords and 】ds writings disagree. I- low should tliey convince 
a man? 

Tlie Master said, " At first my way with men was to hear 
their words, and to give them credit for their conduct. Now my 
way is to hear tlieir words, and look at their conduct. It is from 
Tsai Wo that I have learnt to make this change." ^ That is from 
the time, when Tsai Wo was asleep in the day time, lie changed 
his method of studying* men. But one may well ask, how can a 
man's sleeping' during tlie day time spoil liis character, and how 
can a man of bad conduct become good by not sleeping day or 
iiiglit? Is it possible to learn anything about people's goodness 
or badness from tlieir sleeping during the day time? 

Amongst the disciples of Confucius in the four classes Tsai 
Wo took pre edence over Ise Kiing. Tf lie was so lazy, that nothing 
(*<)ul(l be made out of his cliaracrter, how (,oh1(1 Iu* advance so far? 
If Tsai Wo readied sucli a degree of perfection uotwitlistanding his 
sleeping (luring the day, his talents must have been far superior to 
those of ordinary people. Supposing that lie had not yet. readied 
the goal, but was under tlie impression that ho had done enough, 
ho (lid not know better liiMis(*lf. That Avas a lack of knowledge, 
but liis conduct was not bad. lie only wanted some eiilii>*litcn- 
nient, but to change tlio inetliod of studying men for that reason 
was superfluous. 

1 This is professedly tlie aim of the ( ■/iwi-c/im " or "Spring and Autumn " 
Record, tlie only classical work, of wliidi (^oafadus claims the aulliorsliip. 

2 Analects V, 9. 

Criticisms on Confucius. 


Let us assume that Tsai Wo was conscious of his deficiencies, 
but felt so exhausted, tliat he fell asleep during day time. That 
was a relaxation of his vital force. This exhaustion may increase 
to sucli a degree, that death ensues and not only slecj)J 

As regards the method of judging human character by taking 
into consideration the actions, the words are disregarded, and by 
laying all stress on words, the conduct is left out of consideration. 
Now although Tmi Wo was not very energetic in liis actions, his 
words were well worth 】ieai、iiig. There is a class of men wlio 
speak very well, but whose deeds are not quite satisfactory. From 
the time that Tsai Wo slept during the day, Confucius began to hear 
the words, and look at tlie conduct, and only ia case they both 
corresponded, called a man virtuous. That means to say, he wanted 
a perfect man, but liow does that agree with his principle that 
perfection must not be expected from one man? 2 

Tse Chang asked saying, "The minister Tse Wm^ thrice took 
oftice, and manifested no joy in his countenance. Thrice he retired 
from office, and manifested no displeasure. He made it a point to 
inform the new minister of the way in wliicli lie had conducted 
the government; ― what do you say of him? " The Master replied, 
"He was loyal." 一 "Was he benevolent? " 一 "I do not know. How 
can he be pronounced benevolent?^ Tse Wen recommended Tse Yil 
of CItu as his successor, Tse Yil attacked Sung with a hundred war- 
chariots, but was defeated and lost most of his men .5 If Tse Wen 
was ignorant like that, how could lie be considered benevolent? " ― 

My question is this. When Tse Wen recommended Tse Yu, he 
did not know him, but wisdom has nothing to do with virtue. 
Ignorance does not preclude benevolent deeds. There are the five 
virtues: ― benevolence, justice, propriety, intelligence, and truth, but 
these five are separate, and not necessarily combined. Thus there 
are intelligent men, benevolent men, there are the well-mannered, 
aud the just. The truthful must not always be intelligent, or the 
intelligent, benevolent, tlie benevolent, well-mannered, or the well- 
mannered, just. Tse Wens intelligence was obfuscated by Tse Yii, 

1 Tsai Wo could no more be made responsible for his bodily weakness, than 
for his death. 

2 Analects XIH, 15 and XVni, 10. 

3 A minister of the CKu State. 

4 Analects V, 18. The following words of Confucius are omitted in our Analects. 

5 This battle took place in 632 b.c. It is described in the T'so-chiian Book V, 27 
(Duke Hsi 27th year). 

Lun-Heng. 26 


Lun - Hcng : E. Critique. 

but llow did his benevolence suffer therefrom ? Consequently it is 
not right to say, " How can he be pronounced benevolent? " 

Moreover loyal means generous, and generosity is benevolence. 
Confucius said, " By observing a man's faults it may be known that 
lie is benevolent." i Tse Wen possessed true benevolence. If Confucius 
says that loyalty is not benevolence, lie might as well assert that 
father and mother are not the two parents, or that husband ami 
wife are not a pair. 

The duke Ai^ asked which of the disciples loved to learn. 
Confucius replied to him, " There was Yen Hui. He did not vent 
his anger on others, nor did lie twice commit the same fault. Alas! 
his fate was short and he died; and now there is none. I have 
not yet heard of any one who loves to learn." ^ 一 

What was really the cause of Yen Hui's death? It is, of course, 
attributed to his short fate, wliicli would correspond to Po Niu's 
sickuess.4 All living men have received their fate, whicli is com- 
plete, and must be clean. ^ Now there being the evil disease of Po 
Niu, & one says that lie had no fate.? Those wlio remain alive, 
must have been endowed with a long fate. If a person has ob- 
tained a short fate, we sliould likewise say that he has no fate. 
Provided that heaven's fate can be short or long, it also must be 
good or bad. Speaking of Yen Hui's short fate, one can speak like- 
wise of Po Nile 's bad fate. Saying tliat Po Niu had no fate, one 
must admit that Yen Hid had no fate either. One died, the other 
was diseased; Confucius pitied them both, and called it fate. Tlie 
thing which is derived from heaven is the same, but it is not given 
the same name, for which I do not see any apparent reason.* 

1 Analects IV, 7. . 

2 Duke Ai of Lu, 494-468 b.c. 

3 Analects VI, 2. 

4 Analects VI, 8. 

5 Wang CKung understands by fate something material, not a decree. Cf. 
Chap. Vn and VIH. 

6 Leprosy. Cf. p. 165. 

7 Fate is a pure substance pervading the body